Newmarket: Horseracing group objects to three proposals for stores

William Gittus riding in the Newmarket Town Plate

William Gittus riding in the Newmarket Town Plate - Credit: Archant

A GROUP which represents the horseracing and breeding industries in Newmarket has expressed “grave concerns” about three proposals for supermarkets in the town.

Yesterday, the Newmarket Horsemen’s Group revealed it has lodged objections to proposals for a Tesco, Sainsbury’s and potential Asda as it believes they would have a negative impact on the town’s horseracing industry.

William Gittus, chairman of the Newmarket Horsemen’s Group and managing director of Jockey Club Estates, said the group had objected to all three plans on highways grounds, and the proposals for a Sainsbury’s and potential Asda would also contravene horseracing policies.

The bids are for an enlarged Tesco store at its current site in Fordham Road, a Sainsbury’s on George Lambton Playing Fields, with a five-screen Odean cinema at the site, and potential Asda on land backing on to Rowley Drive.

But spokesmen for Tesco and Sainsbury’s and Bill Gredley, chairman of the Unex Group which has made the application for the land off Rowley Drive, disagree with the Newmarket Horsemen’s Group’s claims.

Mr Gittus said: “As a group, our first priority is the future well being of the horseracing industry but we are not anti-development. We have no objection to plans which do not negatively impact the sport and industry for which Newmarket is famous world-wide.”

Mr Gittus said the Unex Group application posed a “significant risk to horses and riders” as the proposal suggested 24-hour access for HGVs over the busy Rowley Drive horsewalk and a waiting area for HGVs alongside it. But Mr Gredley, who said Asda was the potential tenant, disputed this, saying HGVs would not be allowed to enter after 6am in the morning and before 1pm in the afternoon.

Most Read

Mr Gittus said the Sainsbury’s application would increase traffic on Fordham Road - which is crossed by horses in several places - by at least 20% and the Tesco proposal would increase it by 10%.

But a Sainsbury’s spokesman said the objection on traffic grounds was “weak”. “Only recently, a Government planning inspector rejected the group’s arguments that increased traffic on Fordham Road would affect horseracing in Newmarket when he ruled on the Hatchfield Farm application.” The Tesco spokesman added: “Most of the people who will use our replacement store are existing customers who are already on the roads network.”

There are also proposals for a Morrisons in Exning Road, but the Newmarket Horsemen’s Group has not objected to this application. A ruling on all bids will be made on May 22.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter