Newmarket: Construction firm appointed to build new £15 million horseracing and sporting art heritage centre

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- Credit: Archant

A new £15million museum has moved a step closer after contractors were appointed to deliver the project.

Graham Construction has been appointed to deliver the “Home of Horseracing” project, which is set to transform Newmarket town centre and attract as many as 50,000 visitors every year.

Called The National Heritage Centre for Horseracing and Sporting Art, the National Horseracing Museum and British Sporting Art Trust will move from next to the Jockey Club in Newmarket High Street to Palace House, the surviving portion of Charles II’s racing palace in the town centre.

The five-acre site will also create space for the Retraining of Racehorses charity to give live demonstrations to the public for the first time.

Peter Jensen, chairman of the Home of Horseracing Trust, said: “After eight years of fundraising we are delighted that we are now on our way.

“It is most encouraging that we are planning the opening towards the end of 2015, so I am pleased to say that bringing the project to reality will take far less time than evolving the dream.”

More than £8m has been raised from private individuals, trusts and other donations.

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Further funding has come from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Forest Heath District Council and Suffolk County Council.

While fundraising has been done by the Home of Horseracing Trust, Forest Heath, which owns the site, is in charge of the construction process. The building will be on a 999-year lease to the National Horseracing Museum, which will run the heritage centre.

Warwick Hirst, Forest Heath’s cabinet member for health, leisure and culture, said: “The National Heritage Centre has gone from a dream to a drawing and then full-scale project.

“It can only have got so far thanks to terrific support from a huge range of people and organisations who all recognise the importance of Newmarket as the international centre for horse racing.”

The Palace House Stables and Trainer’s House will be revamped to form new permanent galleries for the National Horseracing Museum.

Palace House itself will be upgraded to house the collections of the British Sporting Art Trust and for sporting art from Tate Britain, while the Rothschild Yard and paddocks will be restored to provide a home for the Retraining of Racehorses charity.

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