Importance of Newmarket’s horseracing industry to be used to seek cash for infrastructure

Forest Heath councillor Robin Millar (left) with William Gittus, chairman of the Newmarket Horsemen'

Forest Heath councillor Robin Millar (left) with William Gittus, chairman of the Newmarket Horsemen's Group. - Credit: Mariam Ghaemi

A new report that confirms Newmarket’s status as globally important thanks to its horseracing heritage will be used to leverage national, European and international investment for infrastructure improvements.

The study by Deloitte, commissioned by Forest Heath District Council, which was revealed today builds on the evidence of a previous piece of work looking at the economic impact of the industry to the area - a £208million contribution.

The new report says “there is no location in the world comparable to Newmarket in terms of the scale, diversity and concentration of racing operations”.

It says it would be advantageous to secure Royal Newmarket status, as set out by the Newmarket Vision group, and achieve World Heritage status to open up funding streams.

Robin Millar, deputy leader of Forest Heath District Council, said: “The report makes the comment the racing industry is thriving and will continue to grow in Newmarket, but it’s important for that growth to continue various infrastructure problems are tackled.”

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William Gittus, chairman of the Newmarket Horsemen’s Group, said the transport improvements would “not just benefit the racing industry but the whole of Newmarket and the surrounding villages and area”.

“A good example of that is using this to lobby for improvements both to the railway station itself and the service which comes past the railway station, which is again ongoing.

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“There’s money going into improving the look of the station at the moment, but it’s using this to push the wider, bigger picture agenda.”

Improvements to the A14/A11 junctions and the A142/A14 junction would also benefit the wider area, the dictrict council said, and local improvements could include the horse walks network.

Steve Harman, chairman of the British Horseracing Authority, said: “The town has a unique history, coupled with a modern outlook, and an equine infrastructure unrivalled on the world stage. It is a significant driver of inward investment into UK PLC and has the potential, with the right policies in place, to act as an even more important engine of growth in the rural economy and beyond for decades to come.”

James Waters, leader of Forest Heath District Council, added: “The report also recognises the need for balanced growth – growth to support both the growing horseracing industry in Newmarket, alongside other people and businesses.”

Panel of key facts:

•There are more than 1,000 registered racehorse owners with horses trained in Newmarket

•Despite an 11% decline in the number of horses in training in Britain from 2008 to 2014, the number trained in Newmarket has increased by about 10% over the same period

•About 28% of all British Flat/dual-purpose horses are trained in Newmarket, making it the largest UK training centre

•The most significant international investment into Newmarket continues to come from Sheikh Mohammed, the ruler of Dubai, mainly through the Darley breeding and Godolphin training operations.

Their annual operating expenditure is more than £50million a year, in addition to average capital expenditure of more than £15million a year.

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