The world’s first artificially created black hole will officially be opened next week in the Surrey town of Haslemere by physicist Professor Stephen Hawking. ‘I predict that this hole will become a major attraction,’ said Professor Hawking, ‘people will come from miles around to see it, whether they want to or not.’

The hole, which has been created using Haslemere’s world famous Small Hadron Collider, has been a controversial issue for many local residents. ‘It all sounds very fancy but I don’t want to live next door to a black hole,’ said pensioner, Mrs Mavis Treeb, ‘it will destroy all the light.’

Meanwhile others are concerned about the cost. ‘The council have poured millions into this black hole,’ complained local man, Arthur Mullins, ‘but as far as I can see we get absolutely nothing out of it.’

The Haslemere hole is the brainchild of physicist, Professor Brian Cox. ‘Ever since I was a small child I have dreamed of having my very own black hole,’ said Cox, ‘my parents would only let me have a hamster but it just wasn’t the same.’

Professor Cox rejected claims that opening a black hole in a busy commuter town would be a recipe for disaster. ‘We have deliberately made this black hole small and manageable,’ he said, ‘a number of our team have already been inside to have look around and it is perfectly safe, although admittedly they were all crushed to a point of infinite density.’

The Department for Transport has recently given the go ahead for a high-speed link between the Haslemere hole and a supermassive black hole being built in Switzerland by CERN. However, while people who enter the hole via CERN’S Large Hadron Collider will travel at almost the speed of light, the moment they enter Britain, they will slow down to a mere 40 miles per hour.

The Haslemere black hole will be opened next Tuesday, to be followed by wine, canapés and the collapse of spacetime.

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‘We apologise for any inconvenience,’ said God, ‘but at the end of next year the Universe will be closed to carry out essential maintenance work.’

The decision follows reports that there are serious design flaws in the cosmos that are preventing it from achieving its full potential. It also appears that health and safety guidelines may have been breached because the fabric of space-time is not flame retardant. ‘The Universe is perfectly safe,’ insisted God, ‘but people must remember that it is a prototype and, at this early stage, there will be some teething problems.’

‘We have known for some time that there is not enough matter in the Universe to keep it going,’ explained physicist, Professor Brian Cox, ‘the official line is that there is a realm of invisible ‘dark matter’ but secretly we all suspect that God simply cocked up with the numbers.’

‘The entire project is riddled with black holes,’ added Professor Stephen Hawking, ‘I wouldn’t be at all surpised if the whole thing collapsed in on itself any day now.’

The closure is just the latest in a long line of problems to dog the Universe ever since it began operating 13.7 billion years ago. The original Big Bang was postponed for 12 months because of ‘technical issues’ over how to create something out of nothing; millions of galaxies were later recalled after being found to be ‘unfit for purpose’; and plans for the expansion of the Universe continue to suffer major delays due to ‘the wrong kind of gravity’.

Meanwhile, a ‘vanity project’ by God to develop civilised life on Earth is already 4.5 billion years overdue and horrendously over budget.

‘Quite honestly, if I had known it was all going to be so much trouble I probably wouldn’t have bothered’ said God, ‘but hindsight is a wonderful thing, even if you are omniscient.’

Engineering work will begin next January during which time a replacement bus service will be running to your nearest parallel universe.