Newmarket: Horseracing heritage centre set to clear hurdle

Palace House

Palace House

CHANGES to part of former royal palace will create a home for nationally important works of art.

The imposing entrance to the National Horseracing Museum at Newmarket

The imposing entrance to the National Horseracing Museum at Newmarket

The work at Palace House in Palace Street, Newmarket, will pave the way for the formation of one of the key elements of the long-awaited £14.3million Home of Horseracing National Heritage Centre.

An application submitted to Forest Heath District Council is likely to be referred to the National Planning Case Unit for determination by the authority’s development control committee with the recommendation that listed building consent is granted.

The plans will see the historic Palace House upgraded to national museum standards to provide space for the collections of the British Sporting Art Trust and the Tate.

The finished scheme, which will also include new permanent galleries, an enlarged museum and working stables, has been described as a “compelling tourist destination for UK and international visitors”.

According to the plans submitted to Forest Heath, walls of the grade II*-listed building will be lined to improve the capability of hanging art. ‘Over-boarding’ will also be added to the ground floor vault for the same reason.

Vertical sliding sash windows will be retained and repaired where necessary. Only two windows will receive double glazing but UV security film is proposed for all.

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Documents state that Palace House, which was part of the 17th Century palace of Charles II, has had an “understated role” in the recent history of the town. It adds: “This will change within the wider context as Palace House fulfils a future role as part of the National Horseracing Museum, which intends to relocate from its current High Street premises to Palace House stables.”

It hoped that the completed heritage centre will be open by the end of 2015 and will attract 45,000 visitors a year.

Peter Jensen, chairman of the Home of Horseracing Trust, said he was “extremely excited” about moving from the planning stage of the project to its delivery.

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