Lee Valley White Water Park

Two visits

By Alan Fox

Action at the White Water Centre
Courtesy of Lee Valley Park

I have visited Lee Valley White Water Centre twice, firstly on 29/06/09 and again last September 22/09/2010 alongside other Holdbrook residents from our local Residents Association and Housing Association. The other was with the Olympic Delivery Authority and a big thank you goes to Hertfordshire 4 winners as well, connected to Herts County Council. The first was the summer of 2009. Residents met at the Marriot Hotel in Cheshunt around 9.45 a.m. to hear about what the Olympics will mean to Broxbourne and in particular what it could mean for Holdbrook in terms of the potential benefits leading up to and beyond the 2012 games.  I met other Holbrook residents at the Hotel.

The Lee Valley White Water Centre

John Fuller did a talk while we were having tea, cakes and biscuits c/o the Hotel. Our tour party were taken on a tour stopping at the Lee Valley White Water Centre, near Waltham Cross (next door to the Holdbrook Estate). What John didn’t have to explain to anyone who lives in Holdbrook is they know the Centre back to front. Every other group John had taken on the tour had to have Lee Valley White Water Centre explained to them from the ground level up, pardon the pun. There was not much to see at the time as the site had only been at the early stages of building. This took place about 10.30 a.m. that morning. What made it so memorable was we only got as far as the front gates for that reason. Sarah Swan, who did the Holdbrook Residents Association newsletter, at the time.(Which had the snappy title of Holdbrook Community News) jumped out of the mini-bus in a hurry to take a quick picture.

The Lee Valley Athletics Centre

I sat next to fellow resident, Michael Barltrop who started to take  an interest in the Olympics. Michael informed me based on local knowledge that Lee Valley White Water Centre had moved to Waltham Cross from Broxbourne as the original site was found to be unsuitable. We then departed for Lee Valley Athletics Centre, Edmonton. We arrived at 11.30 a.m. We were shown around by Ashley Bartlett, Area manager at Lee Valley Regional Park Authority. Mr. Bartlett was brillant showing us around and explaining things as he went along. We were shown where the Althetics did their trainning and saw the a few 2012 hopefuls. We saw where they do practice long jump, throwing Javelin and outside the racing track was. I never got anybody’s autograph. Ashley made it clear not one of these sites was open to the public. You were only allowed to come in if you are a member of a sports club(this is not true). I do know Broxbourne Runners have been there in the past. I think the centre opened in 2001. I believe 1 year they held the European Althetics Championships there. I did think Ashley Bartlett  was a good guide very articulate and intelligent when going through all the information. I believe at Pickletts Locks they  had the Europea Althetics Championships in 2005.

Magnificent views of the stadium

We departed from Stratford at noon. We finally, arrived at the Olympic Park Viewing Gallery in Stratford, East London. to take in magnificent views of the whole stadium. A view of the whole stadium is accessed from the 21st floor of a block of flats. The tour group were divided into two to enable groups of 15 to view from the gallery. The viewing gallery was at Holden Point, Stratford. We had lunch which was served at the Railway Tavern. We were in the London Borough of Newham. When we got there we were spilt into 2 groups. The pub had organised the lunch for us. I was in a group with Michael, who brought me a drink in the pub. 1 group were having lunch at the pub, the others were going to the Viewing Gallery. Me and Michael chatted away. John Fuller came back with his group.

The viewing gallery

Then I was in the group that got the 2nd viewing of the Gallery in a block of flats. It was a bit of a trek. We all went up in the lift and on the way up in and down in the esclator. We all got crammed into a lift on a hot and sunny day. We got a good view of the Olympic Park where the Shopping Centre was being built and the new Railway was being constructed. It was a good clear day. Where I stood near the Viewing Gallery window I could see Wood Green from up there. 6 London Boroughs were involved Newham, Tower Hamlets, WalthamForest, Harringey, Barking and Dagenham, and finally Redbridge. We were getting a lot of information about the event to do with the Olympics up and down the country on the Viewing Gallery wall. It was not just a London event but a nationwide Olympics. John Fuller was also knowledgeable about other Olympics events, like Mountain Biking in Hadleigh, Essex. We got the canoe site. Waltham Abbey got the car parking for it. Mr. Fuller knew all these facts. I do know the mini-bus was changed as one was playing up. We left at 2.30p.m.

Issues for Holdbrook

We got back to the Hotel about 3.30p.m. for refreshments and a question and answer session. The issue of car parking came up and also the whole business of the fact people might park on Holdbrook Estate, not the Waltham Cross Car Park near the Train Station or how people would get from Cheshunt station to the Canoe site. A lot of rumours were flying around. I was impressed with Lee Valley Athletics Centre and the view from the Stratford Viewing platform was amazing. Michael did say “thank you” to Broxbourne Housing Association for a lovely day and The Railway Tavern for supplying a great lunch.Carol Bowman, Chair of H.R.A. (Holdbrook Residents Association.) felt priviledged to have been part of it. H.R.A. has teamed up with the oraganisers of the 2012 games to ensure that local residents are consulted on progress and developments leading up to the big event. It was finished by 4.00 p.m. On the Coach Trip, even though it was a mini-bus, Michael did find out where the model of the Canoe site could be found. No idea if he had any luck.

An open day

On 03/07/09 the day after Michael Jackson had died, the BBC local news showed the Canoe site on T.V. I left my home and went over the road to Lee Valley White Water Centre. They were having an open day. in a Marquee and everything. I went to see how the site was supposed to differ from the mini-site. I saw 1 of the Holdbrook residents from Fowley Mead Park and found out more about the Design and Construction of the Centre and its use after the 2012 Olympics. There were workshops for young people and information provided from the different organsations in the project. I saw John Fuller there that day. This was after I came in and entered via the Lee Valley Towpath into the Marquee. I did speak to the canoe people to ask more more questions about the canoe site and how it differs from Herts Young Mariners Base. We saw the match of Wimbledon on a high definition screen, within the tent. I think Andy Murray was playing. I decided to move on and look around at the Morrison Construction stall. David Fair was doing the talk about the map of the Olympic Park. I had to find a copy of it from a publication aimed at the kids, that day. I then briefly spoke to Ashley Bartlett who answered my questions about how Lee Valley Park Althetics Centre fits in with the Olympics. I am proud to say Ashley was able to answer my questions.

The canoe site

I met the others on my 2nd trip on 22/09/10 between 2-6p.m. Everyone met in the right place. James Eades took everyone’s names and ticked them off like we were going on a school outing. Peter Walkinshaw was unable to come with us, I should explain Peter was from B.H.A. He was unable to come this time as he was working. Broxbourne Housing Association took Holbrook Residents on another trip. I saw Michael Barltrop again. Mr. Walkinshaw did make a brief visit, to make sure everything was o.k. As I said, Mr. Eades was standing in for Peter that day. Some people had to bring the right I.D. to get on board the mini-bus that day and phone B.H.A. to confirm their place long before they got on the trip. My understanding is you are not automatically offered a place. (See above.) We had a tour guide. We made a brief visit to the White Water Canoe area. We had driven around the Viewing Platform, which we were not able to see this time around. One of the management team, if I remember correctly his name was Scott, gave us a talk while we were driven around the car park. We got to see the Canoe site. Scott did explain the Management Team were going to try the White Water Canoe Site. The rest of the Management decided to back out after they found out what happened to Scott. Going down the Canoe circuit for want of a better expression. At this point, I can see how big the site was with the building included. We were leaving heading off to Stratford again. 

The Olympic Park

The bus came in via the Pudding Mill Lane enterance. I did come with a camera to give me some memories of the day. I must have driven Michael mad by getting up and down my seat everytime I took a picture of the Olympic Park. For this, I do sincerely apologise. Coming in, we saw the main Olympic Stadium with the aerials to be tuned for High Denfition T.V. coverage. We passed by the Handball Area, a stadium that will be dismantled after the Olympics. Handball is not so popular in the U.K. The para olympics site is being done for Archery and Wheelchair Tennis. I saw the Press, media and broadcasting centre. It was a very big building. I saw the Olympics Village where the Althetes would be staying, hopefully, doing better than the Commonwealth Games in India. The Aquatics centre where it was designed like a stingray fish for water polo. The group went over a couple of bridges with the mini-bus. When we saw the River Lea. I saw the wind turbine near the Olympic trainning area. Also the Velo Park and Velodrome. (I think these are the correct names for these features.) I’m guessing this is where the BMX circuit is? We had a drive through on both occassions.

The View Tube

We went to the view tube. I had a better view of the stadium from there and the Aquatics centre which was for water sports with a name like that. I also like to thank the staff at the View Tube cafe. We had a group photo at the view tube platform. I saw some really ugly artwork behind me. I thought the bench was there to sit on until I realised in time, it was a piece of work done by an artist. I do know some of the group had disappeared somewhere in the cafe and we nearly left them behind. Walking up to the view tube was a bit of a trek, when I neeeded a cup of tea –  not bringing anything with me on the journey down. On the way back,  Michael sat in front of me and when I finally got off the coach he told me, it was because I could have more space in my seat so I could take photographs with my camera. The ironic thing is at this point, I finished taking pictures.

A sunny day

The Tour Guide did explain they wanted it to be a park in the traditional sense, green trees and everything. By the time we got to the pick up point, everyone went off in seperate directions. On the journey home, we filled in a feedback form, which was a way to occupy your mind on the way back. I thanked Jane the Tour Guide and then left. Again, it was a sunny day. Someone was on our side that day when it came to the weather. I would like to dedicate this item to Carol Bowman’s husband who went on the trip last year.


If you go to the Broxbourne Housing Association website and go to the newsletter link, a shorter version of this newsletter is on the website in the summer edition.  http://www.broxbourneha.org.uk/


This page was added on 28/03/2012.

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