Can we afford to lose Nottingham's HPP whitewater course?

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Pete C.
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Can we afford to lose Nottingham's HPP whitewater course?

Post by Pete C. » Mon Aug 04, 2008 8:57 am

Have you heard about what could happen to the HPP whitewater course in Nottingham?



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 improversNot enough depth to get your playboat verticalNo power to the features for dipping raft tubesShallow 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



I’m helping out with communications for a loose group of water users with real concerns about the course’s future. If you want to help us put forward views to represent 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.



Fill in our protest form



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 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. I’ll be posting up news as it happens at http://hppconcern.wordpress.com/, so keep an eye on the site.



Cheers,



Pete.
Last edited by Pete C. on Mon Aug 04, 2008 1:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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AndyK
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Re: Can we afford to lose Nottingham's HPP whitewater course

Post by AndyK » Mon Aug 04, 2008 9:25 am

Pete C. wrote:They’re shutting the course for three months from November this year to get started.
Paul and Luke, if the work over runs this could affect the NSR timing.

Edit.

Now had time to read all thread, apologies. Serves me right for scanning posts.
Last edited by AndyK on Mon Aug 04, 2008 4:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

ChrisBainbridge
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Post by ChrisBainbridge » Mon Aug 04, 2008 9:32 am

If you look at the layout and Pete's comments then you will see that the NSR will probably never take place again at HPP! There will be nothing that the freestyle guys can use to actually loop on, etc. The course is going to be 1.2m in depth throughout its length.

Chris
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Woods
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Post by Woods » Mon Aug 04, 2008 9:34 am

It may be prematurely militant to suggest that I'd be happy to join a sit-in in the mud and filth in the bottom of the Magic Roundabout when the cement mixers arrive.

Pete

SJ
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Post by SJ » Mon Aug 04, 2008 9:52 am

I was left with two major questions after reading this thread:

1) What are the stated aims behind the changes?

2) Where can we find information from the group that is proposing these changes?

Can anyone share this information? All I can find on the web is pages that are trying to sell me rafting activities!

Cheers,

Sean

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Pete C.
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Post by Pete C. » Mon Aug 04, 2008 10:14 am

Edwindle, Woods. Drop through an email of support before you dust off the Speedos!

Andy - Chris is right. Look at the plans. Changes like this would kill any freestyle events stone dead.

SJ - The design brief for the changes is coming from the BCU's World Class department, who are already seeking consent for the changes without anyone else's input. What World Class are there to do - as I understand - is to win Olympic medals. So these changes are for the 12 elite athletes preparing for London 2012, to make the course more like the 2012 course - which is a shallow, even flume like Athens or Penrith.

And where can you find information from World Class? You can't. They're presenting the plans a week today - which will be different from the plans I've posted on the blog. But as far as we can tell, they'll already be as good as finalised and signed off by then. The only reason we found out about this is because someone let slip that the course is closing for three months in December.

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Post by nicholls2k » Mon Aug 04, 2008 10:46 am

The company who are making the changes are

"Hydrostadium"

Throw them into google to find the courses they have done already and what they are capable of doing. It may help for when you want to make suggestions.

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newkid
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HPP

Post by newkid » Mon Aug 04, 2008 11:09 am

Thanks for publicising this Pete, I heard something about this a while back and discounted it as speculation about what might happen. I didn't realise things were starting to happen so quickly.

Let me know if I can do anything to help, I have already sent an email.

I am sure you will be collating a list of non-slalom disciplines that have benefitted from the course as well as the non-competetive aspects. HPP has been the one consistent year round venue to run qualifications, freestyle events, fun events such as the student rodeo and so on.

Phil

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orlandinio
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SHORT SIGHTED

Post by orlandinio » Mon Aug 04, 2008 11:11 am

blimey, just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water....

yes the elite few may do better at the olympics, and good luck to them, but what about the next generation ? if its slalom they are so worried about where would all the kids who were getting lessons in the chicken shoots go ? to their elite course first day to have the begeebers scared out of them ? obviously not, but HPP has a nice balance at the moment, and whilst contraversy will alwys surround the little changes they make with the bolt on bits this all seems very drastic.

and then, as u said pete, they will all piss off to london when all the funding moves there and we will be left with a poor inpersonation of the nene, g r r r

my email of alarm sent


well done pete for putting this together, if u need any help forming a human chain let us know

O

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Westy
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Post by Westy » Mon Aug 04, 2008 12:17 pm

Pete, do you want us to send a standard worded email as per your original post, or something personal but in the spirit of your wording.
Steve

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David Fairweather
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Post by David Fairweather » Mon Aug 04, 2008 12:49 pm

e-mail sent.

Thanks for bringing this to our attention Pete. I find it hard to believe that they are even considering these changes without full consultation with all the users of the course.

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Weatherman
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Post by Weatherman » Mon Aug 04, 2008 12:57 pm

Found this on there website have a look not much info but suggests something is definatly going on

http://www.hydrostadium.com/Version_ang ... ingham.php

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Pete C.
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Post by Pete C. » Mon Aug 04, 2008 1:09 pm

Hi everyone,

Thanks for the support so far - it's heartening to see...

Westy - a standard worded email is fine. Or - even better - use this support form I've just put together. I'll edit the original post to make it easier...

Nicholls - it was Hydrostadium who put together the initial plans. The new plans will be from a company called EPD - who have done some great stuff before. But if they're told to design a shallow course for elite paddlers, that's what we'll get.

Cheers,

Pete.

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quicky
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Post by quicky » Mon Aug 04, 2008 1:24 pm

What are the stated aims behind the changes?
Welcome to the (alton Towers) HPP log flume....

It will be full of the rubber ring brigade next.....
and falling out of a raft into 1m of water is going to hurt, and capsizing for the newbies who tend to use there faces as bumpers on the bottom.

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freddie
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Post by freddie » Mon Aug 04, 2008 1:48 pm

I've sent in my thoughts via your form Pete, I just hope that it's not too long winded, and someone actually reads all these complaints!

It would be very sad to lose something as versatile as HPP when the course in broxbourne is going to be where everyone trains anyway.

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RichA
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Post by RichA » Mon Aug 04, 2008 1:52 pm

Again, thanks for bringing this to light Pete. I knew plans were afoot, but nowhere near this stage! I've sent an email from your form and I'll spread the word around. Let me know if Notts Uni CC can do anything to help.

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MikeR
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Post by MikeR » Mon Aug 04, 2008 2:10 pm

The lack of consultation on this is shocking (and it takes something special for the BCU to shock me nowadays!).

Email sent.

Mike.

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Post by GLC GAV » Mon Aug 04, 2008 3:53 pm

Hey Pete, wrote a message. I heard about this a while back but thought it was just scare mongering. If you need a hand with anything emailing etc PM me. Cheers Gav

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RichA
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Post by RichA » Mon Aug 04, 2008 3:57 pm

Just found this. It seems other water users have differing views.

http://ccgi.millband.plus.com/cgi-bin/i ... ;f=1;t=956

The final view of the 2nd post seems to be I would suggest contacting World Class and have them explain the plans a little better to you. I thought the problem was that the plans haven't been openly published, let alone explained! Not by want of trying it seems.

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Post by little tim » Mon Aug 04, 2008 4:01 pm

Email sent.

graemepaterson
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Post by graemepaterson » Mon Aug 04, 2008 4:10 pm

Posted about it 5 Months ago nearly.......no one was bothered about it much back then.......just kept calling it a smelly ditch.

http://www.ukriversguidebook.co.uk/foru ... highlight=

Hydrostadium can work wonders, how many people have actually paddled any of the new whitewater courses like DutchWaterDreams and Penrith to enable them to form an opinion?

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Post by KJO - Coaching » Mon Aug 04, 2008 4:17 pm

Hi Pete, who at the BCU World Class is dealing with this? Is there a direct contact?

Thanks
Jacko

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Pete C.
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Post by Pete C. » Mon Aug 04, 2008 4:35 pm

Graeme - it's been rumbling on for a while. I - like you - didn't think it would ever come to anything. But while we thought World Class were still seeking funding, it turns out that they've already set a date to shut the course. Add in a total lack of consultation with course users outside the World Class team and I'm left absolutely fuming.

I've never paddled any of the Hydrostadium courses, but some of them are meant to be OK. Penrith hosted the freestyle worlds and makes money from rafting, but they've had to spend plenty on modifications after the Olympics to make it work for all river users. Dutch Water Dreams was developed for all disciplines - and most specifically rafting. Some of EDF's courses are meant to be great, but their brief needs to take into account water users besides World Class slalom.

These changes could be fantastic, but we need clear and open consultation with everyone who might be affected. They need to talk to us, because we're out on the water too.

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Slaphappy
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Post by Slaphappy » Mon Aug 04, 2008 5:12 pm

How deep is the NRA wave on the tryweryn? people loop there all the time but never looked to be that deep to me, less than 1.2m?

Not sure but if you stern squirt turn a slalom wouldn't that be more than 1.2m?

Are you jumping the gun a little? surely you need plans before you can have a consultation? Otherwise you have nothing to start from and it becomes an open forum rather than a consultation. There is probably room for manouver at this stage. Perhaps they are just doing foundation work and then will get people involved, who represents white water kayakers and freestylers / squirters etc at the bcu, are they not the point of contact for all concerns?

However if this is it, it is the BCU sticking another 2 fingers up at all other paddlers and proving they are for slalom / marathon only.

Shame really, but to be honest I really don't care the BCU doesn't hold any appeal to me and nottingham course has never been of interest, that said I can see it is a valuable resource to those living in that area.

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RichA
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Post by RichA » Mon Aug 04, 2008 5:25 pm

As a random point, will a refund be given to those who have recently purchased season tickets to use the course, only to find out it will be shut for 3 months? I feel they should have been made aware of the potential problem of the course being shut before they paid.
I'll be recommending people new to the uni club this year check this out before purchasing a season ticket, but does anyone know the answer to this at the moment? Ta

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Post by morsey » Mon Aug 04, 2008 5:38 pm

Slaphappy wrote:Shame really, but to be honest I really don't care the BCU doesn't hold any appeal to me and nottingham course has never been of interest, that said I can see it is a valuable resource to those living in that area.
It has much wider appeal than just for those in the Nottinghamshire area. For GB Freestyle it is arguably the best venue for competitions.

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MikeR
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Post by MikeR » Mon Aug 04, 2008 5:41 pm

Slaphappy wrote:Shame really, but to be honest I really don't care the BCU doesn't hold any appeal to me and nottingham course has never been of interest, that said I can see it is a valuable resource to those living in that area.
Just me being curious slaphappy, but is that you squirt boating on your Avatar? If so, HPP comes highly recommended if you've not paddled there as it is (in its current state) the best squirt location in the UK (cue onslaught of abuse from the custard country squirt boys!)

Good to see the 'I'm alright Jack' attitude is alive and well in paddling though. HPP may not be of interest to you at the moment, but you never know - you mates might like to paddle there, or you may move closer to HPP and want to paddle there in the future?

Mike.

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Post by Adrian Cooper » Mon Aug 04, 2008 6:12 pm

With the limited information available, it is difficult to understand fully how the course would be affected. What does appear to be clear is that the more constant gradient will mean that there will be no large features and therefore no interest for freestyle competition and 'playboating'. I get the impression that a reasonable decent of the course would take a matter of minutes with potential for stopping in eddies along the way, and that's about it. As such, the more experienced paddlers in our club will find it uninteresting and the novices will find it too fast. My guess is that it will not be a useful venue unless you are into stick chasing.

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Slaphappy
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Post by Slaphappy » Mon Aug 04, 2008 6:54 pm

haha I knew that post would back fire but better to be honest ;-)
It has much wider appeal than just for those in the Nottinghamshire area. For GB Freestyle it is arguably the best venue for competitions.
Agreed, if not the only true venue what with spectater seating, good parking etc. It would be real shame to see it go, just not convinced that it is the holy grail to all paddlers. But it's location for events is probably the best being more or less in the middle of the country, I also think it should be a contender for the olympics rather than a new course being built, but thats another story.
Just me being curious slaphappy, but is that you squirt boating on your Avatar? If so, HPP comes highly recommended if you've not paddled there as it is (in its current state) the best squirt location in the UK (cue onslaught of abuse from the custard country squirt boys!)
Yep that's me, I don't agree it is the best place in the country, just another place, but I am lucky I have chertsey, shepperton, sunbury all on me doorstep giving a wide range of paddling at any time for free, squirt, play, river training.
Good to see the 'I'm alright Jack' attitude is alive and well in paddling though. HPP may not be of interest to you at the moment, but you never know - you mates might like to paddle there, or you may move closer to HPP and want to paddle there in the future?
Yep Jacks fine, I know plenty of people that go there and I think someone I know raft guides there, no chance of ever moving closer to hpp. To be honest, having paddled there, it is of no interest to me, or anyone I know it is simply to far if we are going to pay to paddle then the nene is closer the weirs are free and tryharder is same travelling time so the question of the post is 'Can we afford to lose hpp course?' Well for me it makes no differance. I can see that this will impact alot of people but I am not sure just how important it is.

It is one of those posts that get's you thinking, for those competing in playboating you want one thing, slalom something else, rafts different again, the problem I have is does it appeal to a minority of paddlers and is it acutally worth the kudos it has attached to it?

Don't get me wrong, just an opinion which is valid on an open forum, I wish pete et al the very best in putting accross and informed proposition and hope they suceed.

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Post by Red Squirrel » Mon Aug 04, 2008 7:12 pm

You have my support Pete, let me know if there is anything i can do to help. I have sent an e-mail using the link.

As a former Nottingham Trent university student, i have spent a huge amount of time there and learned to paddle at the venue, as well as teaching others. I think it is an invaluable asset for whitewater kayaking of all disciplines, as well as the emergency services that regularly train there.

Keep up the good work Pete, i'll spread the word.

Andy

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