Rec plan fails to win town council backing
Controversial plans to transform more than 26 acres of stud paddocks into a new recreation ground have been opposed by town councillors.
It was standing room only as residents filled the council chamber at Newmarket’s Memorial Hall on Monday to hear a presentation from representatives of town mayor George Lambton to the authority’s planning committee on his plans for Brickfields Stud in Exning Road.
The scheme is linked to plans to build a Sainsbury’s supermarket, cinema, petrol station, drive-through restaurant and homes on the George Lambton playing fields in Fordham Road.
Planning consultant Jennifer Ross told the meeting the plans for four full-size football pitches, car parking for more than 100 cars, changing facilities, treatment room and toilets at Brickfields Stud – as well as a separate application to build new sport pitches on Newmarket College’s playing fields – were needed to replace facilities which would be lost if the supermarket plans were approved.
But councillors opposed the change of use application by six votes to three and gave a number of reasons for refusing the scheme, including increased traffic, potential damage to the environment, light polution and a potential detrimental impact on flora and fauna.
The committee also objected to the proposal as it contradicted local policy put in place to preserve land for the racing industry and because they had already opposed the supermarket scheme.
Resident Jill Jeffry-Smith, of Orchard Lodge, also spoke against the plans.
She said: “Exning is a village and these pitches are on the dividing line between Newmarket and Exning. If they are built on, Exning won’t exist as a village, it will become a suburb of Newmarket.”
Another resident, Angela Shaves, of Rose Cottage, added: “While I understand the need for recreational facilities, I don’t believe the long-term implications on the wider area have been considered.” She called on councillors to reject the plans and “keep Newmarket special”.
But officials at Newmarket Town Football Club, which could make its own application to relocate to the Brickfields Stud site at a later date, showed support for the plans.
John Olive, the Jockeys’ chairman, said the Newmarket area was “very short” of football pitches and that the George Lambton playing fields were “unsafe” for young players because of litter and dog mess.
He added: “This is a wonderful opportunity to actually enhance Newmarket and have a wonderful facility.”
The plans will next be discussed by full council at the Memorial Hall on March 25.
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Sunday 26 May 2013
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