The Secretary of State, Sajid Javid, has turned down Lord Derby’s application to build 400 home on his Hatchfield Farm site in Newmarket’s Fordham Road.
The decision, dated August 31, overturns planning inspector Christina Downes decision following a lengthy public inquiry held last spring, that outline planning permission should be granted.
In a length report Mr Javid said he had carefully considered the inspector’s analysis of highways safety issues, in particular in relation to the Rayes Lane crossing and her conclusion that safety measures could mitigate the impact of additional traffic generated by the development. He said those safety benefits were not certain.
“There is a substantial risk that the potential adverse consequences of increased traffic at the Rayes Lane horse crossing will create perceptions among owners and others in the industry of a more negative context for the industry in Newmarket,” said the report.
Mr Javid said he considered that this would threaten the long-term viability of the horse racing industry and that the benefits of the scheme would not significantly outweigh the harm to the industry.
Newmarket councillor Robin Millar, deputy leader of Forest Heath Council, whose planning committee had originally approved the application, said: “Today’s decision is recognition from the Secretary of State that Newmarket’s horseracing industry is of national importance; so important in fact that the perception of damage to the horseracing industry has halted the delivery of 400 homes.
“Some will no doubt be disappointed by today’s verdict and while I stand by our members’ original decision to approve much needed housing in the area, the significance of the Secretary of State’s ruling cannot be overlooked.
“In September we published the report we commissioned from Deloitte which concluded that balanced growth is needed to support both the continuing success of Newmarket’s racing industry and address the other real housing and employment needs in the town.
“The report set out the evidence for why Newmarket is unique and of national and international significance.
“But it also said that this balanced growth can only be truly achieved if the Government gives Newmarket the recognition, and with it the investment in infrastructure, that it properly deserves.
“We are therefore writing to the Secretary of State today inviting him to come to Newmarket to see how we can obtain the investment from Government that Newmarket needs.”
“The second phase of consultation on our emerging local plan finished on 1 July 2016.
Cllr Millar added: “Moving forward we will continue our discussions with our residents, businesses and the racing industry as we strive towards striking the fine balance of appropriate and sustainable growth for the town. Now that the Secretary of State has made this decision, we are all counting on the support of Government, the Secretary of State, our MP Matthew Hancock and our MEPs in helping us to achieve that. Our door is always open to them and I look forward to welcoming Mr Javid to Newmarket.”