Visitor centre for Suffolk Punch horses

A NEW visitor centre could be built to show off rare breed horses, including the Suffolk Punch, at the National Stud to enhance its long term plans to become a charitable trust.

A NEW visitor centre could be built to show off rare breed horses, including the Suffolk Punch, at the National Stud to enhance its long term plans to become a charitable trust.

The Newmarket facility, renowned for breeding thoroughbred horses, is currently conducting a feasibility study to look at ways of how the centre should be run in the future.

The stud is currently managed by the Levy Board, which is expected to be abolished by the Government in 2006, leaving the stud with no official status.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has stated its preferred option is for it to become a charitable trust once the Levy Board has been disbanded.


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Officials are now looking at ways to attract a wider audience to make it more suitable for charity status. Although it admits one plan is to build a visitor's centre where some rare breeds would be on display, it says its breeding of thoroughbreds will remain top priority. They also dismissed rumours the stud could become a breeding centre for Suffolk Punches or other rare breeds.

A spokesman for the stud said: "When the Levy board is dissolved we will be without a status, so we have got to look at the future and find a new status outside the board.

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"We are now looking at setting up a charitable trust, but we also need to become more commercially viable. We are looking into the possible trust, preparing a business plan and conducting a feasibility study to consider ways of taking the Stud into the future.

"We would like to build a visitor's centre, where we can show thoroughbreds alongside other rare breeds. Our main priority will be to continue to breed thoroughbreds because they pay the bills. There are no plans for us to start breeding rare breed horses."

Officials at the stud also dismissed suggestions that the Government could sell off its assets if it fails to gain charitable status.

The spokesman added: "As far as we are concerned the Government has no intentions of selling off assets and we are all looking to the future."

If the visitor centre goes ahead it will be part of several ideas being considered by Forest Heath District Council to try and help Newmarket maintain its status as the home of house racing.

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