THE principal of Hillingdon Outdoor Activities Centre has spoken out for the first time since HS2 was approved and dubbed it a ‘disaster’.
Jeff Creak was on holiday when Transport Secretary Justine Greening announced the go-ahead.
He returned this Monday and spoke to the Gazette.
He said: “It’s a disaster, the whole thing. The government have not taken into account any of our arguments.
“They haven’t offered any mitigation.
“They are still saying its not viable to do anything about (the noise).”
The centre, situated on Harefield’s lakes, faces a bleak future. Noise from an enormous viaduct overhead would make life intolerable.
The kayaking, sailing and windsurfing which the centre offers would become practically impossible.
Mr Creak first told the Gazette in June 2010 that the announcement of the high-speed rail route could mean the eventual closure of the centre and 18 months on the outlook has not improved.
“The blight of the thing is hanging over us. Part of what we do is careful planning, we are always looking ahead. For example, we recently planted 500 trees as part of a sustainability project.
“HS2 makes everything harder. We have a meeting with out trustees at the end of the week where we will discuss where we go from here, along with matters such as compensation.”
Nick Hurd, MP for Ruislip and Northwood (Con), had said in the last fortnight that he hoped HOAC would be able to continue to at least partially open when HS2 is complete, an option Mr Creak is sceptical about.
“A 240mph train line running over HOAC makes our future unviable. It might be possible to do something on the water, but it wouldn’t be HOAC.
“The noise and the sound of the train would be too much.
“There are no obvious alternatives in terms of places for us to relocate.
“The construction would take two to four years while they pile material into the lake and we would have to close entirely for this period.
“For us to re-open after that would not be easy even if there was no noise.
“We are planning on meeting with Nick Hurd, and are going to try to keep fighting it.
“From the centre’s point of view we’ll be carrying on as well as we can and its a long way off. Will they ever get round to building it?
“One of our members, Pat Wyman, a railway engineer, had drawn up an alternative route, which would have avoided HOAC. Despite it being submitted to Parliament, we believe it was never considered.”