Newmarket looking to protect town’s future and horseracing industry with neighbourhood plan
- Credit: Archant
Newmarket residents are hoping to protect the town from unwanted development and guide future builds by producing a neighbourhood plan.
The “home of horseracing” is to produce a legally binding neighbourhood plan document, which will give the community a say in future developments.
Newmarket Town Council has applied to Forest Heath District Council to create a neighbourhood plan, which will become part of the district’s planning framework by which planning applications are determined.
Chairman of the town’s neighbourhood plan group, Rachel Hood, said: “The plan will give residents an opportunity to have their say about how they think the town should be going forward.
“It doesn’t give us a right to stop developments, but forms a planning document that Forest Heath will have to consider.
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“It is up to the residents to shape it and we are listening to their views, whatever they may be.”
The town has had a controversial history when it comes to housing developments, particularly in relation to a bid to build hundreds of homes at Hatchfield Farm.
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Mrs Hood, a Newmarket town councillor, said the neighbourhood plan should enshrine the importance of Newmarket as a centre for horseracing.
Sara Beckett, neighbourhood plan group secretary, stressed that the plan is a positive document, not just one designed to prevent development.
“It is exciting for the town,” she said. “It has to be positive, it can help shape how developments are built.
“For example, it can ensure enough parking is built or have allotments built if the gardens are small.”
The first step is to confirm that the area proposed for the neighbourhood plan is appropriate. This is being done through an online public consultation on the council’s website, which runs from now until December 3.
A decision will then be published within four weeks, after which the community gets to work on producing its proposals.
Once finished, a referendum will be held in Newmarket, and, if it is agreed by the community and Forest Heath District Council, the neighbourhood plan is adopted.
The consultation confirming the area which the plan will cover can be viewed at www.westsuffolk.gov.uk/planning/Planning_Policies/neighbourhoodplans