Tag Archives: holme

BCU statement

This has just landed in my inbox from Chris Hawkesworth – a statement on the process for consultation on the mooted course changes:

Holme Pierrepont – Proposed upgrade to White Water Course.


It is proposed that over this coming winter upgrade works will be carried out to the Holme Pierrepont (HPP) White Water Course (WWC). These works will be to and in the water channel and will alter some of the current water features. It is planned for the work to be completed by the end of February 2009. This upgrade work is being managed by a “Design Group” consisting of the BCU (Facilities and Performance), Sport England (SE) the proposed funders, Nottinghamshire County Council (NCC), and HPP Centre Management. Two engineering consulting firms have been appointed, EPD Ltd to look into and prepare an “In channel” design and Patrick Parsons to look into the civil engineering aspects and to prepare drawings for tender.

Prior to the current “Design group” being formed a French Company, Hydrostadium were asked by the BCU to produce initial suggestions. These suggestions for various reasons were not taken further by the BCU. In May 2008 a consultation meeting confirmed that these initial ideas were not to be pursued but a drawing remained in circulation.

This drawing of the rejected proposal was recently placed on various web sites which has created a great deal of concern, fear and comment about the upgrade proposals.

August 18th meeting.
In response to concerns raised by HPP WWC users, a public meeting was held into the proposed upgrade on the 18th of August.

Over 90 paddlers, including a member of the Press, an NCC observer, BCU and HPP Centre staff attended, of whom 80% were BCU members. A presentation of the work to the proposals to date was made by Andy Laird of EPD Ltd. The merits of the proposals both for and against and a number of serious concerns, misgivings and fears were raised and were expressed in a structured, free for all, good humoured atmosphere which lasted almost 4 hours.

The outcome of the meeting was the formation by volunteers of an HPP WWC “User group” who would meet again on the 3rd of September.

September 3rd meeting.
Originally intended to be a second and final public meeting this date was commuted to a “User group” meeting which quite by chance coincided with a £10 million HPP general upgrade announcement made that day by Nottinghamshire County Council.

The meeting started by looking at Notes taken on the 18th by Ian Scott of HPP Canoe Club. We listed by main heading each of the issues that had been raised, and included and any that had been raised since.

We then looked at what Canoe England understood to be the “Brief” given by Sport England to Andy Laird of EPD Ltd.

Andy then presented his initial drawings and detailed how he was using the “Hec-ras” computer modelling programme to model the course as it is now and how he would use it to model any of the proposed changes.

The plans that are elsewhere on this web site were projected onto a white board. Each current and proposed feature was one at a time gone into in great detail. By using felt pens to sketch their own ideas, superimpositions were made on the white board by “User group” members and in turn an undertaking was given that all the points raised would be looked into by Andy and modelled to see their effect.

Andy agreed to return to the next “User group” meeting with updated proposal drawings for each of the alternatives suggested and will also show an updated “Hec-ras” computer model for each.

There was a unanimous outcome to the meeting and the “User group” wishes to recommend to the “Design Group” a way forwards as follows:-

Consultation time scale.
September 23rd User group meeting.
October 8th        User group meeting.
October 15th      Public meeting HPP Main Centre Buildings at 7.00pm
October 30th      Latest go/no go for the contract.

Specific detailed requests.

A detailed investigation needed into the new version.
HPP WWC original designers.
George Parr and Frank Goodman are to be contacted for their comments.

A statement by the “User group” as follows:-
In order to meet the consultation aspirations of HPP WWC users, as expressed on Monday night the 18th of August and at the “User group” meeting on September 3rd and to meet the proposed “Design Group” delivery programme. The “User group” have decided to support the “Design Group” proposals to go out to tender to pre-qualified contractors with the current “Sample scheme” drawings. This will provide them and us with detailed feedback on construction cost, time scales and allow for the provisional appointment of a preferred contractor. We wish to work with that contractor in developing a final detailed design that will be acceptable by all.

By taking this “Twin-track” route, time will be allowed for structured consultation and involvement by users in the design process without delaying the procurement process time table.

Design brief to EPD Ltd.
Canoe England understands this to be that :-

“EPD Ltd has been appointed to recommend a design for an upgrade to the WWC at HPP in order to enhance the course to modern standards for Slalom Training and Competition in the run up to the 2012 Olympic Games and beyond, whilst at the same time maximising the benefits of the course for other user groups”.

Members of the user group:-
Andy      Maddock        BCU Slalom*
Chris.     Hawkesworth         CE Planning and Facilities Manager*
Daniel    Scott            Desperate Measures
David     Leathborough        Rafting
Dawn     Scott            HPP Canoe Club
Ian         Bebbington        Nottinghamshire County Council*
John      Handyside        CE WWR*
Keith      Hampton        Safety and Rescue
Mark      Delaney            BCU Slalom
Matt       Chadder        Freestyle
Peter     Cornes            Freestyle
Peter     Orton            Valley Canoe Products
Richard Chrimes            Freestyle
Simon   Ricketts            HPP Centre Manager*

Andy     Laird            EPDUK Ltd* (in consultant capacity)

Note:- “User group” members marked with a “*” are also “Design Group” members.

As further details of the proposals become available they will be posted immediately on this web site.

Any enquiries to :-  chris.hawkesworth@bcu.org.uk


Can we afford to lose Nottingham’s Holme Pierrepont whitewater course?

Plans are nearly finalised for a £1.2m investment into the whitewater course at Holme Pierrepont in Nottingham. They’re shutting the course for three months from November this year to get started. Major changes to the river channel will change the face of the course forever. It’s a fantastic opportunity, but there’s a problem.

No-one’s asked for our input.

Have a look at the most recent plans we’ve seen, developed by the World Class team. The back channels and pools have been filled in completely with concrete, and the gradient and depth of the course levelled out to make way for more plastic rocks that only create eddies. This means…

  • No waves or holes for groups of whitewater improvers
  • Not enough depth to get your playboat vertical
  • No power to the features for dipping raft tubes
  • Shallow ledges to slam the stern of your wild water racer.
  • And a shallow, narrow river channel to punish the shins of anyone practicing safety and rescue.

We’re seriously concerned. Without asking the people who use the course day-in day-out, who work there and who travel the length and breadth of the country to visit it, this could be £1.2m cast to the wind. It could turn the high-volume, deep-pool HPP into a shallow-channel like the Teesside white
water course.

Even worse, it could leave HPP a costly white elephant. When the Broxbourne course opens in 2010, the World Class slalom paddlers will desert Nottingham. And if the changes mean less people paying to raft, canoe and kayak, Nottingham City Council will face a stark decision. Do they keep the course open and lose money with every day of operation? Or do they just shut it?

Ill communication

The prospect of huge investment in the course has been rumbling on for a while now. At the HPP users’ forum on 27th May, the World Class team assured us they’d consider the broader needs and interest of the course’s users. They told us we’d be part of the next stage of the feasibility process. We hadn’t been involved in the process up to that point, but this newfound openness boded well for the future.

Then, last week, a casual conversation with one of the slalom paddlers shot down these hopes. They told us the course is shutting in November for three months. And they’re unveiling finished plans on August 11th. That’s a week’s time!

A course for all

All course users NEED to have their say on major changes like this. We want to be involved. And we need to make it clear that changes on this scale can’t happen without everyone’s input.

This isn’t a slight on slalom or slalomists. HPP is fundamental to UK slalom and to GB slalom’s global success. It’s great to see enormous groups of juniors out training on weekday evenings. We don’t want to lose that. And we’re supporting every paddle stroke our team make out in Beijing right now.

But as soon as these changes are made to Holme Pierrepont, our World Class athletes will have the Broxbourne 2012 site, built just for them. All we ask is that before making any changes, the course designers take into account all river users – just like the developments at Teesside, the Washburn, Cardiff and on the Wye. We need to look outside the BCU World Class slalom office if
we’re going to find inspiration for a course to last another 30 years – so we can’t make any hasty changes until we know they’ll work for everyone.

We need your help

If you want to help put forward the views of water users outside the BCU World Class slalom office, there’s one single thing you can do to help. And it’ll take under a minute.

Pledge your support

It’s the single most powerful thing you can do to help. We’ve been talking to a million different organisations – the BCU, World Class, Sport England, Nottinghamshire County Council, Leisure Connection and more – and we need to be able to show broad support with a stack of support. Then we might need to get back to you and ask for further support. From what I’ve been told, we need 280 BCU member pledges – but I’ll confirm that number during the week when I’ve checked my facts.

Click here to support us

Or, if you’d prefer, send a mail with your BCU/ECA/WCA/SCA/CANI number to hpp.concern@googlemail.com.

Thanks for reading this, and thanks for your support.