Course boss stands by dyke path closure

Latest news from the Newmarket Journal,, @nktjournal on Twitter
Latest news from the Newmarket Journal,, @nktjournal on Twitter

Newmarket Racecourses boss Amy Starkey said she had been “devastated” by the amount of personal criticism she had received over the decision to stop people watching after racing concerts from the top of the Devil’s Dyke for safety reasons.

But she told the Journal that she stood by the decision and added: “I cannot apologise for taking measures to keep people safe. I have a duty of care in the job that I do and I take my responsibility seriously.”

On Monday members of Newmarket Town Council gave their backing to the controversial move. Town mayor Cllr John Berry said he felt Ms Starkey, who is also a member of the town council, had been “wrongly vilified” for taking the stance. He told members of the community services committee that he had originally been sceptical about the decision to divert the Devil’s Dyke footpath during the evening race meetings and music concerts, but after hearing about the healthy and safety issues agreed it was the right thing to do. Cllr Andrew Appleby also supported the move. “Should anyone be injured while viewing the shows from Devil’s Dyke, the question that would be asked is ‘could this risk have reasonably been foreseen.’ The answer must be yes.” But Cllr Chris O’Neill said he “could not disagree more.” “There is talk about the dyke being dark but this is two nights before the summer solstice.”

He said people were more likely to be hit by a car leaving the racecourse than fall off the dyke.