Set to sail to a new home?
HS2 could move outdoor activity centre to large quarry site
HILLINGDON Outdoor Activity Centre (HOAC) could be forced to move to Buckinghamshire in order to make way for HS2.
HS2 Ltd, which is responsible for delivering the new high speed rail line through Hillingdon, said: “Subject to planning approval being granted, it should be possible to relocate HOAC, currently in Harefield, to the Denham Quarry site with a 25-acre lake by 2018.”
The company has appointed a ‘dedicated team’ to deliver the relocation, which has a possibility of increasing the lake up to 45 acres.
HS2 say the plan represents a “clear way forward” for HOAC, after meetings with Denham Quarry operator, Summerleaze, and the planning authorities.
The move comes after Cllr Ray Puddifoot, leader of Hillingdon Council, outlined his concerns to a Select Committee at Parliament, saying the borough council hadn’t been involved in HOAC talks since June.
He said: “Whilst we are encouraged that there may be the possibility of a 45acre lake at Denham by 2020, this may be again raising false hopes.
“We are concerned that no planning applications have yet been submitted and the compensation costs payable to Summerleaze for the loss of landfill income may also prevent the scheme from going ahead.”
Principal of HOAC, Jeff Creak, said: “I’m hugely disappointed we haven’t been listened to, we had a very good case along with the borough of Hillingdon. The route, the whole concept was fatally flawed.
“The other side of the coin is that when you’re looking into the abyss, something’s better than nothing, and you have to make the best of what might be on offer.”
HOAC say they’re in the very first stages planning but have to work very quickly as “HS2 want the site” and will continue to operate.
Mr Creak said: “The logistics are all in discussion but we’re certainly operating HOAC in full next year, and probably a full season the year after and then we’ll be moving to Denham.
“By that time HS2 will have built things there, and dug a 25 acre lake and we’ll move there in 2018.
“We’ll still be here and operating as normal next year. We’re taking bookings as normal now and unless anything untoward happens we’re looking at doing the same the year after.”
HS2 Ltd say the centre has financial concerns about the transition and worries Hillingdon Council may withdraw its £55,000 a year funding.
Mr Creak added: “I have no expectation of getting funding from Bucks Council at this stage but it’s their land we’d be based on so we’re talking about planning permissions and trying to make it work.
“They’re being very cooperative as are Hillingdon.”
Mr Creak said he will continue to oppose HS2 altogether, adding: “When the Hybrid Bill comes for a second reading, we’ll be at the front there, banging on the door, saying ‘This is stupid, please don’t do it!’.”
You have to make the
best of what might be on
WL150184_14 n PROTEST: Anti-HS2 campaigners Jean Timms, Gordon Cocks and Grahame Buxton at Hillingdon Outdoor Activities Centre and (left) a young sailor at the popular lake