Issues with the Proposed Hatchfield Farm Development
- Newmarket is unique: around 3,000 racehorses cross Newmarket’s roads every day!
- Hatchfield farm development is detrimental for the future survival of Newmarket as world’s Racing HQ
- No need to build a single house on a greenfield site in Newmarket.
Supporting Facts and Information
Development has the potential to make Newmarket, UK and world’s HQ of racing, unfeasible to maintain, let alone develop, its economically essential core racing industry
Hatchfield development is wholly incompatible with the ability of the town’s core racing industry, its lifeblood, to function safely and efficiently and will therefore cause its inevitable decline with the potential to impact on the racing industry in the UK.
Newmarket has been the world’s racing HQ since 17th Century and Save Historic Newmarket, Newmarket Town Council, local residents and the 13 racing trade bodies and major companies opposing this development plan are doing so to preserve historic Newmarket. They want to preserve the world’s racing HQ for future generations.
Newmarket – the world’s HQ of racing
Horseracing was brought to Newmarket by King Charles I in 17th Century and King Charles II made it into the national centre for horseracing. The growth of Newmarket as the centre of the horseracing industry continued through the 19th and 20th Centuries to give it its current status as the world capital of the industry.
Racing is the second biggest sport in Britain after football (source: Deloitte’s report) with a generated expenditure of £3.4 billion. Newmarket, a rural market town, is the heart of the horse racing world and is referred to as “HQ”.
Unique and world capital status arises from the range of horse racing interests in the town covering all aspects of the racing industry. There are more racehorses, trainers, stable staff, stud farms and racing organisations based in and around the town of Newmarket than anywhere else in the world.
84 trainers, with over 3,000 horses in training, 48 studs and a supporting industry including vets, farriers, feed merchants and more and has 2 of the country’s best known racecourses and is the head office to major racing organisations, including Tattersalls and Jockey Club Estates.
The horseracing industry is essential to Newmarket and its economy. It is estimated that up to 33% of jobs in Newmarket are directly related to horse racing being provided in the training yards, studs and stables and over 50% with supporting industries included.
Economic effect of racehorse industry on Newmarket (excluding racecourse and betting revenue and turnover: direct spend locally in Newmarket area greater than £150 million, Indirect spend locally in Newmarket area greater than £100 million. Turnover of horseracing sales and stud farm business greater than £500 million, of which expenditure from oversea is greater than £250 million.
With around 3,000 horses crossing the roads daily, traffic congestion is already a major issue that needs tackling with gridlock being a regular feature and ambulances often struggling to reach injured riders on the gallops with an increasing number of accidents occurring.
With traffic is set to grow regardless of the development and with the potential for 1,000 more horses to be in training, Newmarket is already on course for even more serious issues in relation to safety and traffic congestion.
Impact of Hatchfield Farm Development on Newmarket and racing industry
1,200 houses increasing the population by around 33% will urbanise this rural market town making it unsuitable for many in the racing world to maintain their business in the town, traffic will become even worse and indeed untenably unsafe for horses, riders, drivers and pedestrians.
Fordham Road will be primary corridor from traffic movement from Hatchfield Farm and this is one of the primary areas of daily horse movement – today up to 1,000 horses daily cross this one road with around 3,000 horses crossing through the town daily.
The report compiled for Tattersalls by Cannons Consulting Engineers and Barton Willmore, planning specialists, found that the Hatchfield Farm development could lead to an increase in morning peak traffic of up to 65% on Fordham Road coinciding with the peak daily movement across the Fordham and Bury Roads of around 3,000 racehorses in training. Safety and congestion issues which have been a major problem in Newmarket for many years would be dramatically exacerbated and the report highlights how FHDC have consistently disregarded these concerns.
Forest Heath needs to be managing the traffic issue to protect its core industry rather than adding factors to exacerbate it.
This development will affect the attractiveness of Newmarket to the racing industry and risk the ability of Newmarket to support the economy to the extent it already does and the extent that would be desired in the future.
Strong support behind SHN’s campaign extends well beyond Newmarket and includes the whole of the racing industry, and this includes 13 trade associations and organisations: British Horseracing Authority, Darley Stud Management Co Ltd, Godolphin Management Co Ltd, Jockey Club Estates Ltd, National Trainers Federation, Newmarket Racecourse, Newmarket Stud Farmers’ Association, Newmarket Trainers’ Federation, Racehorse Owners’ Association, Racehorse Transporters’ Association, Save Historic Newmarket Action Group, Tattersall’s Ltd, The Horseman’s Group, and Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association.
Moreover, it is totally unnecessary and there is no need to build a single house on a greenfield site in Newmarket
Independent assessment report published by planning specialists, Barton Wilmore states there are only 867 new homes to be allocated to meet government targets, and these can be met by the numerous available brownfield sites.
There is no rush as unallocated Brownfield sites (examples of sites) provide sufficient capacity for the shortfall to be built between now and 2021, or perhaps even the extended deadline of 2031.
Forest Heath District Council needs to provide 6,400 new homes under the targets set by John Prescott’s Regional Spatial Strategy. This target should be nearly met with completed and underway developments: 1,076 have been built, with a further 4,457 either under construction or having planning permission or on sites allocated for dev elopement. This leaves the 867 homes yet to be allocated and there are sufficient brownfield sites available to cover these requirements.
These housing targets set by John Prescott’s East of England Plan, the Regional Spatial Strategy, are likely to be abandoned by the Conservative Party – Caroline Spelman MP, shadow minister for communities and local government, has written to councils to inform them of this and local conservative MP Richard Spring has indicated this to Forest Heath District Council.
In addition, it appears there is already a surplus of affordable housing in Newmarket . The US Air force departure from an estate opposite Hatchfield Farm, Studlands, has been like a ghost land with numerous empty houses.
Development is stimulated by council’s quick fix approach to meet government targets, Lord Derby’s desire to monetize his assets regardless of the propriety, and lack of understanding of Newmarket’s core racing industry.
Quick fix - With claims Forest Heath District is behind meeting government targets, Hatchfield farm with its 1,200 proposed house project would exceed its shortfall of 867.
The allocation of Hatchfield Farm for the development of 1,2000 houses represents a significant change in planning policy in the town. Historically, planning policy has sought to encourage the development of the horseracing industry and to protect it against the impact of development.
The horseracing industry is concerned that the identification of Hatchfield Farm to accommodate 1,200 houses has not been subject to detailed studies or the provision of an adequate evidence base. In a report published by Cannons Consulting Engineers and Barton Willmore, it found the absence of a number of key documents including transport assessment, ecology and biodiversity studies and concept masterplans.
In addition, given the importance of the horseracing industry to Newmarket, it is expected that studies to examine the impact of the development on the activities of the industry would have been undertaken. This work has not been undertaken by the FHDC.
Lord Derby is profiteering, and is being disingenuous as to his motives. He claims the rationale for Hatchfield Farm development is it is “the best way to meet council’s obligations to provide more homes”. It sounds very worthy but it not his obligation to meet council targets that the conservative party is likely to withdraw. It is anticipated that he will make many millions from the development.
With Lord Derby’s main residence in Liverpool, his life and livelihood (unlike his brother whose stud is in Newmarket) will not be disrupted or negatively impacted in the longer term by the development.
Forest Heath District Council (FHDC) needs to review its approach to help protect and develop its core racing industry
Forest Heath District Council (FHDC) needs to take into account the importance of Newmarket’s core race industry when making planning decisions.
With regard to Hatchfield Farm Development, it has not undertaken any assessment to look at its impact on Newmarket’s core racing industry. This needs to be undertaken with regard to any major planning project in Newmarket.
FHDC needs to be looking to improve the town for its core racing industry, including improving the increasing traffic congestion and hazardous safety conditions for the unique mix of horse and rider, pedestrians and traffic.
Specifically, FHDC to review its Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA) that 1,200 houses should be accommodated in North East Newmarket - they are not necessary and are detrimental to Newmarket’s historic core racing industry.
We believe, once it is taken into account the number of houses can be provided from existing commitments; and the number of houses that can be provided from identified sites within the SHLAA on the basis that only minimum densities are achieved; there is no need to allocate North East Newmarket/Hatchfield Farm in the period to 2031.
Sources include: Tattersalls and the Newmarket Racing Industry compiled by Barton Willmore, and Cannons Consulting Engineers: http://www.tattersalls.com/property/Reps002.17666.AJ%20Final.pdf; British Horseracing Authority’s report on Economic impact of British Racing 2009 compiled by Deloitte
Why was a judicial review necessary?
• A major development at Hatchfield Farm would irrevocably damage Newmarket’s core industries, racing and breeding, and create unpleasant and hazardous living and working conditions for residents.
• This view was supported by the entire racing and breeding industry, hundreds of residents, Newmarket Town Council and over 1,700 people signed a petition. Importantly, Forest Heath District Councillors demonstrated agreement with this view when they unanimously rejected the application.
• Newmarket does not need this quantity of additional housing – there is plenty of affordable housing available in Newmarket and nearby areas and brownfield sites ripe for development. There are a large number of empty affordable houses in a major new development in nearby Red Lodge and there are other areas such as Mildenhall who would like more affordable housing.
• However, North East Newmarket remains in the Core Strategy Document earmarked as appropriate for development with Hatchfield Farm as the only site within this area that is available for development.
• Although Core Strategy is not meant to be site specific, it appears to be site specific with Hatchfield Farm and endorsed by the fact Lord Derby has applied to the Court to be a party with the Council to the Judicial Review proceedings.
• To prevent a new slightly amended application being approved, a strong “alliance” of Newmarket businesses, which employ over 1/3 of the town’s working population, and Save Historic Newmarket Action Group, have been granted a Judicial review of FHDC’s Core Strategy document.
• Judicial review has been applied for on the grounds that the Core Strategy is unlawful due to FHDC’s failure to comply with the requirement for sustainability and environmental assessments. Through the Judicial Review, the Alliance hopes to ensure that North East New Market aka Hatchfield Farm is taken out of the Core Strategy document and historic Newmarket will be able to continue to flourish as a place to live and as the World HQ of racing.
Costly exercise of the Judicial Review wasted tax payers’ money
• However, Forest Heath District Council can avoid the costly legal expenses of using local taxpayers’ money to fight those same taxpayers, its residents and local businesses, in a judicial review through extracting North East Newmarket from the Core Strategy document. The Alliance has received legal advice as to how this extraction could be lawfully executed and they have sent this through to the Council and Councillors.
Who are the members of the Alliance applied for a Judicial Review?
Godolphin • Darley Stud Management • Jockey Club Estates • Tattersalls • Newmarket Trainers Federation • Save Historic Newmarket Action Group • Unex Group
Key Objections to Hatchfield Farm Development
1. Significant evidence based objections to this major housing and commercial development not being listened to by council officers (commercial development: size of 13 Tesco superstores)
- 1,200 houses are not needed in Newmarket, there is already sufficient affordable housing. There is a demand for such housing in the town in Mildenhall and Haverhill.
- The impact of such a major commercial development, the size of thirteen Tesco superstores, has been underestimated and not fully focused with attention on the housing issues.
- Both the housing and the major commercial development will create unacceptable levels of traffic congestion creating hazardous conditions and are not compatible with the sustainability of the core racing industry and the wellbeing of the town.
- There is not the infrastructure to support the creation of this proposed bolt-on town – in terms of schools, hospitals, transport and water system.
- The supporting material supplied by Lord Derby is backed up by flawed research and many key areas are not covered, including environmental studies required by statute (includes inaccurate and misleading current and potential traffic assessment, significant issues with ecological surveys, including inadequate bat surveys required by law.
2. Huge opposition to the development within Newmarket: from residents, the town council and its core industry, racing, and yet not heard by council officers and many of the Conservative councillors. Our objections are backed up by local knowledge and factual evidence provided by experts such as Barton Wilmore and Cannon Consulting and yet in all the council’s representations they seem to be ignored or not responded to. Often we have to call up to have our objections put up on the website.
3. Newmarket’s local economy and job market will be impacted, all the more so with leading racing businesses intending to pull out of the town and others will not base their operations in Newmarket if the development goes ahead.
4. FHDC is a conservative council that is driving forward a scheme that is not in line with Conservative policy to meet old Labour targets set by John Prescott’s regional spatial strategy (RSS). Our local MP has confirmed that the Government’s policy continues to be removed this RSS and therefore the council would not be penalized as the council officers have implied. This scheme is being driven by the council officers to meet old Labour targets with opposition from our new local MP and the liberal democrat candidate and it is not in line with conservative housing policy.
5. We do not want a repeat of the mistakes made with the major development at Red Lodge with historic Newmarket. With Red Lodge FHDC officers did not trigger appropriate Section 106 payments and the result is an uninhabited urban sprawl with a severe lack of infrastructure. Hatchfield Farm application also looks set to be approved without appropriate section 106 payments and the necessary infrastructure.
Timetable and Contents of Planning Application
The first application:
Comprehensive mixed use development comprising:
- Up to 1,200 dwellings
- Up to 27,000m2 of B1 employment floorspace
- Community facilities (up to 500m2) of D1 uses
- Retail development (up to 250m2) of A1 uese
- 80 bed hotel (C1 use)
- Restaurants, food and drink establishments (up to 1,000m2) of A3, A4 and A5 uses
- Park and Ride (up to 100 spaces)
- Up to 9,000m2 of B1 employment and D2 Assembly and Leisure uses
- Primary School reservations (2 form entry)
- Two vehicular accesses into the site
- Improvement of the A142/Willie Snaith roundabout to provide a fourth (east facing) arm
- A new roundabout access on to the A142 north of the A142/Studlands Park Avenue roundabout and realignment of the A142
- A pedestrian/cycle routes and estate roads
- Playing fields and pavilion, children’s play space, informal open space, allotments and landscaping
The application is accompanied by a range of technical documents including: design and access statement, environmental impact assessment, transport assessment and travel plan, flood risk assessment, planning policy statement, horse racing impact statement, statement of community involvement and tree survey. All of these will need to be properly assessed.
For further information please contact:
Chloe Bone, Communications Officer, on 01638 719728
Vikki Austin, Communications Officer, on 01638 719236
Sally Rodé, Communications Manager
Tel: 01638 719361 Fax: 01638 716493 Mobile: 07500106137 Home: 01842 878193