Newmarket’s position as the world centre of racehorse training and breeding would be at risk if a proposal for 400 homes at Hatchfield Farm went ahead.
Giving evidence during the second week of a planning inquiry into Lord Derby’s development plan for the town’s Fordham Road, leading trainer John Gosden said: “There comes a point when enough is enough. Newmarket can’t take any more development and the problem is that once you smash a coral reef you can’t replace it and it’s gone forever. I’m 64 but I am thinking of the up and coming trainers in their 20s and 30s who are the future.” The planning inquiry, which is being held at the Mildenhall offices of Forest Heath District Council, was called after Eric Pickles, secretary of state for communities and the environment, called in the decision by Forest Heath to allow the development.
The proposal has been opposed by the Newmarket Horsemen’s Group and the inquiry has heard from the Jockey Club’s William Gittus and Hugh Anderson managing director of Sheikh Mohammed’s Darley and Godolphin operations.
Mr Gosden said any further urbanisation of Newmarket could put at risk investment in the racing industry by owners who wanted their horses trained in the town because of its “semi-pastoral setting.” According to Right Move there are around 400 empty houses in Newmarket right now. That would solve the housing problems at a stroke and most are on Studlands Park right across the road from Hatchfield Farm.”