The Hatchfield Farm Inquiry has ended

All the files full of data, maps, surveys and witness statements have been cleared away so that order can resume in the Council Chamber at Forest Heath District Council.

On the final day of the three0week inquiry, the inspector heard closing speeches from the Newmarket Horsemen's Group, Lord Derby's (Hatchfield Farm) Group and Forest Heath District Council.

The Horsemen's Group again reiterated fears of the irreparable damage the development would do to the racing industry in their closing speech.

David Elvin QC said: "The proposals present a risk to the horse racing industry (HRI) which, given the importance of the HRI and its need for a high level of protection, is unacceptable."

"No other town in the UK, or even Europe, has such a role, such connections or such character. No other town has thoroughbred horses crossing through its centre on a daily basis of such value and in such numbers or indeed horse crossings that are probably the busiest in the UK if not in Europe." 

"Given its importance, it is neither sensible nor appropriate to wait for harm to occur, and the recent successes of the HRI is not the guarantee of resilience assumed by the applicant."

Lord Derby's QC Christopher Boyle repeated the Earl's utterly discredited claim that building 400 homes (most costing £400,000 or more) on stud land would benefit Newmarket! 

Ignoring the long list of all the negatives the 400 dwellings would mean to Newmarket, he claimed the money Lord Derby would have to pay as part of a 'Section 106 agreement' with the Council could be used to marginally increase safety at Rayes Lane 

The obligation to build 120 affordable homes will doubtless prove to be unviable.

The Site Specific Allocations and Single Issue Review is due to go out to public consultation in June which should give confirmation of the number and possible distribution of housing in the District. 

If he is to make a profit of over £40 million by threatening the over 3,000 good jobs in Newmarket and over 100, Lord Derby would need to find a developer willing to purchase the land who would then have to apply for detailed planning permission at a later stage.

Of course, it would be infinitely better for the District Council to consider the development once the sites and figures have been ratified.


Further, now the District has a five year land supply it is no longer appropriate for Lord Derby an inheritor of extraordinary wealth to try his hand as a speculative property developer to make millions for himself.