Secretary of State moves on Hatchfield

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A public inquiry will decide the fate of Lord Derby’s housing plan for Newmarket’s Hatchfield Farm after Secretary of State Eric Pickles agreed to ‘call in’ the controversial application.

Newmarket MP Matthew Hancock wrote to Mr Pickles last week after local planners approved the plan for 400 homes earlier this month.

On Friday it was announced that Mr Pickles has decided to call in the application to be further considered by the planning inspectorate.

The development proposal had received extensive opposition from significant organisations in the racing industry, including The British Horseracing Authority, Newmarket Horseman’s Group and the Racehorse Owners’ Association as well as town residents.

“I am delighted the planning application has been called in,” said Mr Hancock. “This means the proposal can be thoroughly scrutinised, taking into account the national importance of Newmarket and the impact the housing development could have on the horse racing industry.”

A spokeswoman for Lord Derby said; “We are disappointed at the decision which is particularly surprising given the Secretary of State categorically stated that the much larger scheme would have no adverse economic impact. This is a blow to all of those people who need homes in Newmarket and the many who have contacted us to give their support in the past week. Newmarket is

about people as well as horses- both need to be accommodated in the town.”