Com­mit­tee of MPs visit area af­fected by route

Harefield Gazette - - FRONT PAGE -

ACOM­MIT­TEE of MPs has vis­ited Hilling­don to see for them­selves parts of the bor­ough that could be de­stroyed if HS2 goes ahead.

The group vis­ited sites in and around the Colne Val­ley, in Den­ham, be­fore mov­ing into ar­eas of Hare­field, Ick­en­ham and Ruis­lip.

They vis­ited The Old Or­chard pub, in Park Lane, Hare­field, to wit­ness the breathtaking view across the Colne Val­ley and were met by staff and sup­port­ers of Hilling­don Out­door Ac­tiv­i­ties Cen­tre, in Dews Lane, which will have to close and re-lo­cate else­where if the line is built, as the viaduct will ef­fec­tively slice through its main lake.

HOAC pres­i­dent Jeff Creak said: “It was a whis­tle-stop tour and I think they need to come down here for half an hour and re­ally see what will be missed, but it was good that the com­mit­tee came and met us.

“If they are go­ing to do any­thing they have got to get on with it. We have been told that HS2 is look­ing to start build­ing here in sum­mer 2016.

“That af­fects us now be­cause we have schools and groups who want to bring kids here and we can’t tell them if we are able to ac­com­mo­date them.”

Mr Creak ex­plained that the cost to bring HOAC’s cur­rent fa­cil­i­ties to a new site would be £10mil­lion – which does not in­clude the cost of ac­quir­ing new land.

“I think it would take around two years to get it up to the stan­dard we have here,” he said.

Al­ter­na­tive sites to move to in­cluded Broad­wa­ter Lake, which has now been dis­missed by HS2 be­cause of its des­ig­na­tion as a Site of Spe­cial Sci­en­tific In­ter­est, and Den­ham Quarry.

Ma­jorie Fox, of Peer­less Drive, Hare­field, said: “We need them to see HOAC to­day and see all that will be de­stroyed and why we need a tun­nel un­der this area.

“We want them to take no­tice of the stud­ies from Hilling­don Coun­cil that say a tun­nel is vi­able and take that se­ri­ously,” she said.

The com­mit­tee then went on to Ick­en­ham, down coun­try roads that will be grid­locked by the

n TAK­ING A LOOK: The MPs dur­ing their visit to Hilling­don and (left) pro­test­ers Jean Timms, Gor­don Cocks and Gra­hame Bux­ton

Pho­tos by Grant Humphreys www.buyapho­totms.co.uk WL150184

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