Newmarket Journal readers' letters to the editor
The police and horse/driver safety are among this week's topics.
POLICE RESPONSE BORDERING ON NON-EXISTENT
Reading last week’s letter from Michael Browne made me think for a moment, does he live in Newmarket, and if so, does he come under East Cambridgeshire District Council?
I have lived in New Cheveley Road three times, having spent 56 of my 71 years in the Cambridgeshire end of this road.
Police cover for this area appears to be non-existent, as I recently tried to contact the police about catalytic converter thefts.
On moving back to Newmarket 26 years ago, I had my mobile workshop, complete with tools, stolen from outside my house. When I reported the theft, Suffolk Police immediately responded, and said it had to be reported to Cambridgeshire Police.
On reporting this, I was told: “You live in Suffolk, report it to them.” After a pointless and protracted conversation I rode to Parkside police station on my motorcycle to show the desk sergeant an ordnance survey map with county boundaries clearly marked on it. The grudging, eventual, response was half-hearted, to say the least.
I am sorry to say this situation has only worsened, as drug deals can be seen as regular, daily life, and never a police presence in sight, especially a Cambridgeshire one. What do we pay our Council Tax for?
Ted Landymore, Newmarket
URGENT ACTION NEEDED NOW
I was sorry to hear about the recent car/horse interface accident in St Mary’s Square. I hope all involved recover quickly.
However it does seem that the rider was unaware of the status of the highway she was using. There are legally no such things as horsewalks or horse crossings in Newmarket. They are simply part of the public highway and subject to normal highway law, like any other road. As county highways has recently stated. There is no legal context for a horsewalk. The majority of horsewalks in Newmarket came about following construction of an additional path. I had queried the status of Rayes Lane which is a normal road and not a bridleway as stated on an antique sign fixed to the Drill Hall.
Are all work riders properly trained in UK highway law before being let loose around the town? Are they issued with copies of the Highway Code? Does their union make sure trainers give them sufficient health and safety training and not require then to do anything unsafe, within or without the yard?
The whole question of having dozens of unstable racehorses meandering about all over a busy 21st century town full of traffic, which itself will soon be electric and silent in its approach, must be urgently readdressed. The 1970s plan to remove all racing related horse movements from the centre of town must surely now be seriously reinvestigated.
Guy Bettley-Cooke, Centre Drive, Newmarket
MOTORISTS NEED GREATER PROTECTION
I would like to put a case for greater protection for the motorist alongside rider and horse after a horrific road accident I miraculously survived in 2018.
Driving legally in clear conditions into the Moulton dip, without any previous sighting, a riderless horse, ran into the road. The petrified horse showed in my windscreen before it propelled itself over my car. I saw it above me before the windscreen erupted. I thought I was going to die. The horse did. The trainer was attentive and apologetic. The assistant effusive having ‘never seen anything like this in 30 years’. He repeatedly re-iterated the company’s insurance would settle without question.
My car was written off. I was asked to take blame but refused. Months later payment was made. I assumed from the other party. Two renewals later I see blame apportioned to me with the claim that CCTV showed the horse standing in the road and I did not drive around it. I obtained the CCTV which showed the loose horse on the heath not standing on the road. Apparently I needed to prove negligence by the horse’s connections. How is the motorist to do this?
The horse was known to have temperament issues but these were discounted as a bloodline trait. Should horses with temperament issues be on roadways? The Highway Code says make sure you can control a horse before taking it onto the road. CCTV is needed at crossings and law is required so trainers take responsibility for the actions of their loose horses.
Sara Esler, Newmarket