Planners delay decision on 79 home estate in Newmarket's Exning Road
A controversial plan to build 79 homes in Newmarket has been delayed by district planners after councillors rejected a recommendation to go-ahead.
At West Suffolk Council’s development control committee on Wednesday, members unanimously agreed to defer their decision on CALA Homes’ proposal to build on land at Brickfield Stud, in Exning Road.
Cllr Rachel Hood, Newmarket’s mayor, told the committee the town council had objected to the development because of highway safety issues, concerns the estate would merge Newmarket into Exning, and that it was against the horseracing land policy.
Calling the application premature, Cllr Hood said the proposal was contrary to council policy to protect land that had been used in connection with the racing and thoroughbred breeding industry.
“Whether or not people are interested in horseracing it is a world leader contributing £3.5bn annually to UK PLC and is a huge economic contributor to this area,” she said.
District planning officers had advised committee members to approve the build and said despite the local plan, which earmarked the land for development, having not yet been approved, ‘significant weight’ should be attached to it.
“I am aghast to hear West Suffolk inviting the planning committee to approve this application. It breaches policy, Newmarket Town Council has objected to it for clearly sensible reasons and we haven’t adopted the local plan but we have adopted policies to protect horseracing land from being developed in this way,” said Cllr Hood.
“This plan is now at a very advanced stage and subject to modifications that do not have any impact on this allocation has been deemed sound by the planning inspectorate.” Neil Farnsworth, senior planning manager
Neil Farnsworth, senior planning manager for CALA Homes, said: “This plan is now at a very advanced stage and subject to modifications that do not have any impact on this allocation has been deemed sound by the planning inspectorate.”
But committee members agreed that it was brought to the council too early. Cllr Carol Bull said: “I am a little concerned as to why when the local plan is going to full council on September 19 this is been brought forward at this stage.”
And Newmarket councillor Andy Drummond said the plan was not in force until it was voted on and warned even then the plan could be subject to a judicial review.
Cllr David Roach said until the plan was passed it should be deferred. “Time and time again officers say uphold policy but this time we have been told to ignore the policy,” he said.
After the meeting Mr Farnsworth said he was disappointed with the decision but the company would bring it back to the planning committee at the earliest opportunity.
More by this authorDan Barker