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Councillors welcome new plan for Newmarket's Queensbury Lodge

Town councillors have welcomed a plan which could finally see the renovation of an historic stable yard whose derelict state has blighted the entrance to Newmarket for decades.

At a meeting on Monday, Stephen Walsh, representing property developer Bill Gredley, outlined proposals which would see Queensbury Lodge restored to its original use as a racing yard and the development of a site which includes the former swimming pool site, the former White Lion pub and paddocks which were once part of Fitzroy Stables with 123 new homes, shared workspace offices, a central landscaped public square and children’s play areas.

Mr Walsh said that property company Unex was in the process of a land swap with petrol station owner Shell, which would give it the former pool site to redevelop its service station and Unex the land behind the garage, once a used car showroom.

An aerial shot of the site where 123 new town homes could be built. Picture by Phil Fuller
An aerial shot of the site where 123 new town homes could be built. Picture by Phil Fuller

He told councillors his presentation represented the first stage of a process which would lead to a planning application.

“At this stage we wanted to know would it be something you would be able to support,” he said.

Queensbury Lodge cottage and stables, Newmarket High Street.
Queensbury Lodge cottage and stables, Newmarket High Street.

High Street resident Sheila Kavanagh, whose home backs on to the development site, said it was ‘significantly closer’ to her property than she had imagined it would be and was concerned at the proximity of the road off the High Street which would serve the new development.

Cllr Andy Drummond said he was pleased to see there was no access planned from Falmouth Avenue, something which had been an issue with residents in the past when other schemes had been put forward for Fitzroy paddocks.

“We have gone 40 years waiting for something substantial to happen to Queensbury Lodge. I would give it my support whole heartedly,” said Cllr James Lay.

Town mayor Cllr Michael Jefferys added: “I am impressed with this design, particularly the trees. That is the key to the success of this scheme.”

But he stressed the presentation did not represent a planning application and councillors had a responsibility to look at that application,when it was submitted, with a clear mind.

“We cannot pre-judge,” he said. “This is a very important space we are looking to improve.”

The proposals represent potentially a new chapter inwhat Mr Walsh called the ‘long running saga’ ofthe Queensbury Lodge site.