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Newmarket racehorse crossings to receive major safety upgrades

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Major safety improvements are on the way for two racehorse road crossings in Newmarket which have been described as very dangerous for riders, drivers and pedestrians.

The crossings, in St Mary’s Square and in Bury Road, close to the Hyperion service station, have been singled out for the installation of a raft of safety measures by Suffolk County Council, the highways authority.

The planned improvements were outlined to members of Newmarket Town Council’s planning committee and community and leisure service committee when they met on Monday.

St Mary's Square horse crossing. Picture by Mark Westley.
St Mary's Square horse crossing. Picture by Mark Westley.

Lindsay Devin, Jockey Club Estates training ground executive, said: “These two crossings were picked because they are very dangerous as they are both in very busy areas.”

She said the proposals for St Mary’s Square included new surfacing and road markings warning of the crossing, new railings, and flashing warning signs activated by riders in Rowley Drive and Mill Hill.

There would also be a clearly marked and properly surfaced area for pedestrians to cross at the junction of the two roads.

Some councillors questioned whether it was too close to the junction but Ms Devin said that was where pedestrians had always crossed and it was felt a crossing further back along Rowley Drive would not be used.

Plans to make the Rayes Lane horsewalk safer for riders and for the parents and children who regularly use the pavement, which runs parallel, on their way to St Louis Catholic Academy, were also outlined.

Members heard there had been an incident in November when it appeared a horse had been frightened by a child running down the path, and had slipped over landing on its rider, who was treated at the scene before being taken to hospital.

Jockey Club Estates wants to replace the existing concrete posts and metal rail with a two bar wood-look fence made from re-cycled plastic.

“The railings there are insufficient and the incident could have been a lot worse,” said Ms Devin.

And Rob Achner of Jockey Club Estates, said: “We have been has been pushing Suffolk County Council for the fencing to be upgraded and if it provides the materials we will provide the labour to install it.

“We would also use this as a trial for the fencing which we also want to put in St Mary’s Square.”