Hatchfield Farm back on the agenda in Newmarket after local plan is revised
The ten-year saga of Hatchfield Farm in Newmarket has taken a new twist with the site being a last-minute inclusion into the Forest Heath District Council's latest Local Plan review.
At a full council meeting at its offices in Mildenhall last month, FHDC put Lord Derby's controversial plans back into the mix with an provisional allocation of 400 houses plus a primary school and five hectares of employment space.
The proposals are part of a scheme to balance the share of housing between the towns in Forest Heath, such as Newmarket, and the key service centres such as Red Lodge and Lakenheath.
The racing industry, who has fought a long battle against Hatchfield Farm since it was first mooted in 2008, faces yet another fight if it wants to stop the development which will greatly increase traffic levels in central Newmarket, particularly on the Fordham Road where there are now two horse crossings.
A FHDC statement read: "At a full council meeting on February 21, members agreed a preferred option for housing distribution and a preferred approach to inform the preparation of main modifications to the SIR and SALP Local Plan.
The preferred option results in the greatest change in balance with 39 per cent in towns and 35 per cent in key service centres. This will be achieved by allocating 450 more homes in Newmarket (a primary school and five hectares of employment), 165 fewer in Lakenheath and 50 fewer in Red Lodge."
It went on: "Officers will await a response from planning inspectors about next steps, which will include preparation of main modifications based on the preferred option together with modifications for the SIR and SALP for public consultation, which will last for six weeks and begin later in the spring."
Last year, Lord Derby successfully challenged a decision by the Secretary Of State to reverse FHDC's approval of the plans in 2014.
Before that, many locals at the home of Flat racing thought that Government minister Sajid Javid's decision was the end of a near-decade fight against the proposals which all racing bodies oppose.
The importance of the horseracing industry to the economy of Newmarket was one of the main factors that was thought to have finally sunk the long running application.
Rachel Hood has long campaigned against Hatchfield Farm as chair of the Save Historic Newmarket Action group, she said: "Make no mistake, councillors Robin Millar and Simon Cole voted to put Hatchfield Farm back in the Local Plan.
"Both are not known for their love of the horseracing industry and its disgraceful how this has come about. We now face yet another consultation."
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