With the end of the year approaching, you might be interested to read a brief overview of the state of play in Newmarket.
As you will be aware, the prospect of Newmarket being significantly enlarged by the creation of a suburb on the north-eastern side of the town on Lord Derby’s Hatchfield Farm has caused considerable disquiet among the town in general and among its racing and bloodstock community in particular. Newmarket occupies such a special place in the racing heritage of the world, never mind merely of Britain, that any move which threatens its viability as a premier training centre – as the development of Hatchfield Farm and the consequent further increase in traffic in the town surely would – is able to provoke universal opposition.
Unsurprisingly, opposition to Hatchfield Farm has not been restricted to the racing world: in July, Forest Heath District Council’s planning committee voted unanimously to throw out Lord Derby’s application. Unfortunately, this seemingly decisive verdict has not brought the matter to an end because Lord Derby appears intent on challenging the verdict.
With Newmarket’s training and breeding communities united alongside the Jockey Club, Tattersalls and the town’s local politicians, it is hoped that Lord Derby will either bow voluntarily to overwhelming local opinion, or find that his schemes continue to be rebuffed by the relevant planning authorities. The former would obviously be the preferable option for all concerned, and it is a source of disappointment that the issue remains on-going.
Ironically, at this time of year Lord Derby makes the headlines not only for his plans which would, if successful, undermine Newmarket’s viability as a successful training centre, but also for his role as patron of the Horserace Writers’ and Photographers’ Association, whose prestigious awards are named in his honour. This awards lunch was previously one of the social highlights of the year for many of racing’s professionals – so if we can make one wish for 2011, it is the removal of the spectre of the green fields of Hatchfield Farm becoming a significant urban extension to our historic town.
Historically, Lord Derby’s family has been renowned as patrons, rather than opponents, of Newmarket; it is in nobody’s interests for this honourable tradition to be broken.
Forest Heath District councillors tonight voted unanimously to refuse the planning application submitted by Lord Derby to build 1200 homes on Hatchfield Farm in Newmarket.
The many members and supporters of Save Historic Newmarket who turned out in force to hear the determination were delighted with the outcome and thanks must go to Newmarket Town Councillor Richard Fletcher, Godolphin's Hugh Anderson, William Gittus of Jockey Club Estates and Councillor Pat McCloud for making such tremendous representations on behalf of the town.
Thanks also to Tattersalls for the considerable resources they have devoted to achieveing this result and to the councillors themsleves, who listened to the people of Newmarket and have acted in their best interests.
Newmarket's annual town meeting is being held on Monday, 24 May at King Edward VII Memorial Hall on the High Street starting at 6.30pm.
In recent years this has been a well-attended event and it is crucial that as many Newmarket residents as possible turn out to make their feelings known on local issues. As well as Newmarket's Town Council, there will be council officials from Forest Heath District Council, who have so far done everything they can to try to force the Hatchfield Farm development on us.
The new date for the decision on Lord Derby's plans has been set for 2 June and it's vital now that we remind FHDC that we will not stand by and watch Newmarket be ruined by such a vast development. Please attend the meeting if you can.
Forest Heath District Councillors voted on Thursday to defer a decision on the Hatchfield Farm development until 4 June 2010.
At an extraordinary planning meeting called to assess Lord Derby's application to build 1200 homes and a business park on Hatchfield Farm, Cllrs Drummond, Radford, Hirst and Huggan each moved to reject the application and they were joined in the vote on this by Cllr Mrs Fairman Smith. However, the remaining members of the council present opted to defer the decision to allow more time to consider the implications of such a development, an option they were strongly urged to take by FHDC's head of strategic development, Nigel McCurdy, and the head of planning, Nicola George.
Save Historic Newmarket applauds the brave stance and intelligent comments and objections put forward by Andy Drummond, Ian Radford, Warwick Hirst and Tim Huggan and thanks them and also Newmarket Town Councillor Richard Fletcher and Jockey Club Estates' managing director William Gittus for the impassioned speeches on behalf of the town. Together with the hundreds of residents who turned out to protest at the FHDC offices on Thursday evening, we will continue in our quest to ensure that Lord Derby's monstrous scheme is not given the green light by Forest Heath District Council.
On Friday, 12th February, Forest Heath District Council’s planning committee voted unanimously to refuse Lord Derby’s request to extend the 16 week planning application by 10 weeks. The 16 week application process will end by 26th March. Save Historic Newmarket were welcomed this development and Chair, Rachel Hood said:”We are delighted by this refusal to extend the application process. There is such massive opposition to the Hatchfield Farm development and we hope that this signals the beginning of the end to this whole issue.”