‘All this will be gone’

MPs visit sports cen­tre un­der treat from HS2

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS -

MEM­BERS of Par­lia­ment vis­ited a ‘lively wa­ter sports and ac­tiv­ity cen­tre’ that would be ‘ex­tin­guished’ if HS2 were to go ahead.

Boris John­son, MP for Uxbridge and South Ruis­lip and Nick Hurd, MP for Ruis­lip, North­wood, Pin­ner, vis­ited the Hilling­don Out­door Ac­tiv­ity Cen­tre (HOAC) in Hare­field on June 12. And HOAC prin­ci­ple, Jeff Creak, wasted no time in spell­ing out to the MPs the ef­fect of HS2 and the po­ten­tial clo­sure of the cen­tre.

He said: “Ac­cord­ing to HS2, HOAC will be ex­tin­guished, that’s their word. We’re a com­mu­nity hub and 22,000 young peo­ple use the cen­tre a year. We have about 40,000 vis­its. We have spe­cial needs, un­der priv­i­leged peo­ple, spe­cial needs peo­ple, dis­abled, all walks of life use it in the area. We’ll have nowhere else to go.”

He added: “Nick Hurd is pe­ti­tion­ing for the Colne Val­ley tun­nel and we are. It’s the only chance that Hilling­don Out­door Ac­tiv­ity Cen­tre will sur­vive. I can’t par­tic­u­larly vouch for Boris but he’s cer­tainly well in­formed now.” Mr Creak said he has been in­formed by HS2 that the cen­tre could con­tinue while the high speed rail­way is built.

But he claims this would be com­pletely im­prac­ti­cal, adding: “You can’t have young peo­ple run­ning around do­ing ori­en­teer­ing on a build­ing site.”

He said it would cost in ex­cess of £10mil­lion to re­lo­cate, as­sum­ing land could be found. Mr Hurd, MP for Ruis­lip, North­wood and Pin­ner, said: “Boris wanted to see the HOAC site for him­self, not least be­cause so many of his con­stituents use it. He got the value of it im­me­di­ately but re­sisted the in­vi­ta­tion to try out the zip wires.

“He was briefed by Jeff Creak of the very real dan­ger of HOAC hav­ing to close be­cause of HS2.

“On June 30th we will both be up front of the Com­mit­tee ar­gu­ing that HS2 needs to be buried – ideally in a tun­nel to the other side of the Colne Val­ley.”

Boris John­son said: “It was great to meet Jeff Creak and the staff at HOAC and see the im­mense work they do for kids of all abil­i­ties to en­joy the out­doors. It would be an ab­so­lute tragedy for Lon­don­ers to lose this great fa­cil­ity.”

n SUP­PORT: Jeff Creak, prin­ci­pal of HOAC, with Boris John­son and Nick Hurd

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