Town's projects under starter's orders

By Benedict O'ConnorTHREE major developments are under starters orders in the Newmarket area, centred around the new multi-million-pound Waitrose store and the Fordham bypass.

By Benedict O'Connor

THREE major developments are under starter's orders in the Newmarket area, centred around the new multi-million-pound Waitrose store and the Fordham bypass.

Work will begin on the new Waitrose store on Monday, while construction of the town's new fire station began yesterday and preliminary work on the bypass has also started.

Waitrose cleared the final hurdle to building its new store when the town council gave its seal of approval to the temporary car park on the Severals, which the supermarket giant had to provide before construction could start.

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Newmarket mayor, Robin Millar, said he expected there would be some traffic disruption during the construction period, but added that would be a “short-term pain for a long-term gain”.

The car park, which replaces the Fordham Road car park on which the new store is being built, initially provoked outcry from residents who objected to the historic land on the edge of the heath being dug up.

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However, the new whicker-style fencing around the temporary car park, put up to shield horses from traffic, has earned an unexpected army of admirers.

Mr Millar said: “Waitrose has been inundated with requests for this fencing. The council and Jockey Club Estates requested it because it looks quite natural and to cause the least disruption.

“But people want to know where they can get it so they can install it at home. Nobody expected it to be this popular.”

Work has also begun on the town's new fire station in Willie Snaith Road, which Waitrose agreed to provide as part of the deal to build its store.

Assistant Suffolk Chief Fire Officer, Graham Smith, said: “We will see a new fire station built that will continue to provide the level of fire and rescue service currently in place.”

The site of the new Waitrose store includes not only the car park and fire station, but the Catholic church car park, the priest's house - which is being demolished - and the ambulance station, which is also being replaced.

Preliminary work has also begun on clearing land for the Fordham bypass, months before the project is due to begin, so as not to disrupt nesting birds.

Cambridgeshire County Council highways officer, Alan Middlebrook, said: “Work isn't due to start until June and usually the contractor would take care of it, but as the job's still out to tender, we have brought people in to clear the hedgerows before birds start to nest in them and cause the least disruption to wildlife.”

Archaeological evaluations are also being undertaken on the site of the bypass, which will link the Soham roundabout to the A142 north of Newmarket.


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