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Newmarket Town Council renews its objection to Lord Derby's Hatchfield Farm development

Newmarket's memorial hall, where councillors voted 12-3 to continue their objection
Newmarket's memorial hall, where councillors voted 12-3 to continue their objection

Newmarket town councillors have voted overwhelmingly to reaffirm their opposition to Lord Derby’s plans to build 400 homes on his land at Hatchfield Farm in Fordham Road.

At an emotionally charged meeting of the council on Monday, the public gallery was packed with representatives of the racing industry, which has always opposed the plan on the basis that traffic generatedwould be incompatible with the ability of the town’s core industry to function safely and efficiently, and residents, some of whom backed it the proposal.

Hatchfield Farm was back on the agenda after the High Court ordered the application be redetermined as part of the ongoing reassessment of the case by the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government James Brokenshire. He has asked for an inquiry into the proposal which was first submitted back in 2009 when it was for 1,500 homes.

Champion trainer John Gosden warned councillors that if the homes were built Newmarket would be in danger of becoming a ‘bolt-on town to Cambridge’, a city which had an an enormous requirement for housing.

“Newmarket is not the place to build them unless you want to wreck a number one industry of which this country can be proud,” he said.

But resident Ian Young said opposing development in Newmarket meant more homes were being built in its surrounding villages.

“By continually allowing the villages and towns to be built on it is having an adverse affect, as the major link roads in the town are not being developed to handle the extra traffic this is causing. We seem to be allowing the horse population to expand but not housing for the general population,” he said.

Deputy mayor Cllr James Lay said the housing proposed for Hatchfield was not what the town needed and said there were currently almost 1,000 properties for sale or rent within a five mile radius of the town.

“What we really need are small developments that are available for young people who are trying to get on to the housing ladder,” he said.

The council voted by 12 to three to continue its objection to the Hatchfield proposal.