‘All this will be gone’
MPs visit sports centre under treat from HS2
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