Housing plan for Newmarket 'legally flawed'

Plans for a controversial housing strategy for Newmarket have been ruled "legally flawed" by the High Court.

Critics said the Forest Heath District Council's Core Strategy Development Plan would destroy the unique, horse-friendly character of the town.

Racehorse owner Lord Derby wanted to build about 1,200 houses, a hotel, park and ride scheme and a retail park on the 160-acre Hatchfield Farm site.

Mr Justice Collins said an EU planning directive had not been complied with.

The judge quashed the proposed central housing policy of the core strategy as it affects Newmarket.

He said a strategic environmental assessment did not contain all the relevant information.

Application refused

Forest Heath District Council had adopted the new housing strategy in May last year.

The council was refused leave to appeal.

Lord Derby had supported the new strategy and applied for planning permission for the houses, hotel, park-and-ride scheme and retail park.

His planning application was refused, but the appeal process is continuing and could be affected by the High Court's decision.

Previously racehorse trainers and prominent figures in the racing world had said the extra traffic caused by the development would make it unsafe for the 3,000 horses that cross Newmarket's roads each day.

They also said urban development would ultimately lead to the demise of Newmarket as a racing town.

Lord Derby said he believed the development was the best way to meet targets for new homes, and the last thing he intended to do was threaten the town.

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