Date set for Asda inquiry

How the site could look.
How the site could look.

A date has been set for a public inquiry into a decision to turn down developer Bill Gredley’s plans for an Asda superstore off Newmarket’s High Street.

The Unex Group’s application was rejected by Forest Heath District Council in May last year, along with plans from George Lambton for a Sainsbury’s store and cinema on the George Lambton playing fields.

But plans for a larger Tesco store off Willie Snaith Road and a Morrisons in Exning Road were given the green light by the district council.

Both unsuccessful applicants launched appeals in July but Sainsbury’s withdrew after the Government’s National Planning Casework Unit (NPCU) decided not to call in the Tesco and Morrisons decisions.

Now a public inquiry will be launched into the refusal of the Unex Group’s application on February 25, which is expected to last for four days.

The proposal would see the development of more than nine acres of land bounded by High Street, Rowley Drive and Black Bear Lane.

It would include plans for a 40,000 sq ft store with parking for around 300 cars, a petrol station, retail units with parking, a drive-through restaurant with parking and an extension at the back of the White Lion pub.

It would also create around 218 jobs and see the refurbishment of the derelict Queensbury Lodge, cottage and stables.

The application raised concerns among many residents and was opposed by Newmarket Town Council and the Newmarket Horsemen’s Group.

The district council refused it on the grounds that it would result in the loss of a racehorse training establishment; cause substantial harm to a conservation area; and would, when assessed cumulatively with the proposals of Morrisons and Tesco, have a significant adverse impact on the town centre’s overall vitality and viability.

A statement from the Unex Group said: “Unex hold the very strong view that our comprehensive development is of substantial benefit to the town and community, and it is with this conviction that we are going to appeal.

“We will have more to say after January 28 when proofs of evidence are exchanged.”