Lord Derby responds to council’s Hatchfield Farm concerns

editorial image

Suffolk County Council should use the former St Felix Middle School site to build a new primary school for Newmarket using cash paid through legal agreements for developments like Hatchfield Farm, according to Lord Derby.

A spokeswoman for the peer said he also believed the success of the town’s horse-racing industry would depend, in part, on the town having “decent and attractive places to live for all, including those who work in the industry and associated sectors”.

The comments came in response to Suffolk County Council raising several “serious concerns” about Lord Derby’s proposed development of 400 new homes at Hatchfield Farm in Fordham Road.

These included the insufficient provision for new school places, which would be needed should the development go ahead, and the increased traffic it would generate.

The spokeswoman said a recent report detailing the economic impact of the racing industry on Newmarket painted a picture of a “thriving and growing industry and not one which would be adversely affected by 400 dwellings at Hatchfield Farm”, which was an increase on the existing housing stock in Newmarket of just five per cent.

She added that the 400 homes proposed were in line with an emerging policy allocation for 700 homes, and development in the north east of Newmarket was also identified as a preferred location in the Newmarket Vision exercise.

“The previous application for 1,200 homes was deemed acceptable in terms of traffic and transport impact. The much lower number of 400 homes has a similar level of improvements and has been demonstrated to have minimal adverse impact,” she said.

“As Suffolk County Council are aware, as part of a planning consent the project will contribute a significant financial sum to education and schools places. There is a ready made school site. It is the former St Felix Middle School site which is vacant and close to Hatchfield Farm. The council should be planning for a new primary school on this well-located site using contributions from new developments, such as Hatchfield Farm.

“Through working together we can bring forward positive development which support the horse-racing industry, infrastructure and the requirements of the wider Newmarket community.”