Plans for 123-home estate rejected over concerns for horse racing industry

Queensbury Lodge in Newmarket, where a diversionary path away was installed last April as the parts

The plans, which would be built opposite Queensbury Lodge, pictured, have been rejected. - Credit: Archant

An application to build 123 homes on the grounds of a former stables in Newmarket has been rejected due to concerns over the loss of horse racing industry infrastructure. 

The proposals would have seen the development built in Black Bear Lane, formerly Fitzroy paddock, which has been left empty after a former swimming pool building which was located on a section of the land, was knocked down.

Development company, Unex Ltd, said that the project which would see 83 homes built alongside a block of 40 flats, would "significantly improve" the character and appearance of the area. 

Queensbury Lodge in Newmarket. Pictured in 2015

Queensbury Lodge in Newmarket. Pictured in 2015 - Credit: Archant

Of these homes, 86 would be for sale to private buyers and 37 would be affordable dwellings.

Plans were rejected by West Suffolk Council at the end of December, after council officers said the plans were contrary to the town's development plan. 

The Newmarket joint development management plan states that the change of use of any land or buildings directly related to the horse racing industry will only be permitted if the development is allowed within the local plan.

The site is part of a wider area earmarked for development within the local plan, however council officers said details of the current proposals are "contrary to key requirements" of the site. 

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Planning documents submitted to the council said land would be reserved to allow for the future provision of a dedicated horse walk from the boundary of Queensbury Lodge, a former stables, in anticipation of the restoration of the site by The Crown and English Heritage.

However, Newmarket Town Council raised objections to the designs after plans to redevelop the lodge were dropped from the application.

An original submission had included the redevelopment of the neighbouring stables, however the council say plans later submitted in September 2020 did not include the same provision and for that reason they could not support the application. 

Some conservation work was carried out at Queensbury Lodge in December in a bid to stop its historic stables and neighbouring cottage being further damaged.

In the application, Unex Ltd, said: “The proposed development will completely transform this gateway into Newmarket with significantly improved appearance and public realm to bring a vitality and life back to the end of the High Street."