max temp: 16°C

min temp: 13°C


Poll: Urbanisation threatens Newmarket’s 400-year reign as the home of horse racing, says Godolphin chief Hugh Anderson

12:43 08 July 2014

Horses ride on Warren Hill last week, protesting against the Hatchfield Farm housing development in Newmarket

Horses ride on Warren Hill last week, protesting against the Hatchfield Farm housing development in Newmarket


Urbanisation of Newmarket is threatening the town’s 400-year history as the world-famous home of horse racing, according to the boss of the country’s most powerful stables.


Hugh Anderson, the managing director of Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin, said the town’s facilities made it “the envy of the world” and that Godolphin would remain “huge supporters” of Newmarket providing that remained the case.

It comes after Forest Heath District Council waved through scaled-back plans for 400 homes in Hatchfield Farm last week, despite fierce opposition from across the horse racing industry.

Both Mr Anderson and Newmarket mayor Rachel Hood yesterday renewed their calls opposing the plans, and urged secretary of state Eric Pickles to review Forest Heath’s decision.

Council planning officers have insisted there is no evidence that Lord Derby’s proposals will harm the industry, while Forest Heath leader James Waters last night vowed to work with horse racing leaders to ensure this was the case.

A planning inspector’s report into the previous application for 1,200 homes on Hatchfield Farm also concluded that the industry would be unaffected.

Mr Anderson - who spoke against the application at last week’s planning meeting - pointed to Newmarket’s “spacious and superb public gallops”, and the presence of Tattersalls alongside world-leading trainers, breeders, racehorses and vets that made it “a jewel in the crown of British sport”.

He added: “But these businesses must be carried out in an essentially rural location, and growing urbanisation is a threat to what the industry is trying to achieve in Newmarket.

“We are disappointed with the councillors’ decision last week, but not entirely surprised given the fact that the officers of Forest Heath had recommended approval.

“For 400 years Newmarket has been a superb location for training and breeding racehorses, and we will stay here as huge supporters of the town and the racing industry for as long as that remains the case.”

A report by SQW this year found horse racing was worth more than £200million to the local economy, which town mayor Rachel Hood, who is also president of the Racehorse Owners Association, said may have changed the thinking of the planning inspector over the original application.

“What’s subsequently been described as an unbelievably conservative estimate still concluded that it was far and away the largest industry in the area,” added Mrs Hood.

“Turning Newmarket into a commuter town for Cambridge I think is a bit misguided.”

Communities and local government secretary Eric Pickles could still call the application in for review.

Council leader Mr Waters said: “Forest Heath District Council wants to carry on working with all parties, through Newmarket Vision, to protect the horse racing industry.

“We know it is important for the town, and we have demonstrated its value through the SQW research we jointly commissioned.”

Newmarket has been allocated more than 1,200 homes in Forest Heath’s emerging local plan, which aims to plot housing growth across the district until 2031.

Newmarket county councillor Lisa Chambers said she had tried to convince Lord Derby to withdraw his application until Forest Heath had finalised its local plan.

She added: “It would be terrible for the town if any part of the horse racing industry withdrew from Newmarket. I will continue to do what I can to support the town’s main industry to grow and prosper in the future.”

Pair claimed a neighbour in Wellington Street, Ipswich had a gun

A couple who sparked a full-scale armed police response over gun claims must pay £1,000 compensation to Suffolk Constabulary.

The new electronic road sign in Rushmere

A new set of electronic traffic signs have been posted around Ipswich to help warn motorists of delays, roadworks and other essential travel information.

The large scale police operation in Potash Road, Wyverstone.

A Suffolk police officer whose enquiries led to the discovery of more than 400 firearms - one of the biggest weapon finds the UK has ever seen - is set to be recognised.


Sites for more than 1,000 new homes on the Felixstowe peninsula have at last been revealed – with farmers’ fields set to disappear to make way for the growth of the resort.

A seal boarded Terry Davey's boat in the River Orwell.

A 71-year-old rower was joined by an unexpected companion while taking on a life-long dream to scull solo from Woodbridge to Ipswich in a boat of his own design and building.

Early morning deer rutting at RSPB Minsmere

It’s one of the most spectacular annual events in the wildlife spotting calendar – and a Suffolk nature reserve provides one of the best locations to get close to the unfolding drama.

Framlingham from above. Aerial photo by Mike Page.

A revised housing bid from Persimmon Homes for a site off Mount Pleasant in Framlingham has again been recommended for approval.

Liz Truss, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs addresses the Conservative Party conference in Manchester. Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Environment secretary Elizabeth Truss has warned Labour’s proposals for the environment and countryside are “fundamentally backward, dangerous and wrong”.

Prime Minister David Cameron in his hotel room as he prepares his conference speech that he will deliver to his party's annual conference at Manchester Central tomorrow. Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Prime minister David Cameron will label his tenure the “turnaround decade” when he addresses his party faithful today.

Vicky Ford

Prime minister David Cameron will get an agreement over ever-closer union, an exemption from the eurozone and a package on migration ahead of a referendum before 2017, one of the region’s Euro MPs has claimed.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages