Will Newmarket’s groundbreaking horseracing ‘gallop in the sky’ get planning permission? Decision due this week
PUBLISHED: 14:45 04 September 2017 | UPDATED: 14:45 04 September 2017
The ambitious £10million plan for a “gallop in the sky” to further boost Newmarket’s reputation as the ‘home of horseracing’ is set to be decided.
The 900m-long gallop is proposed to be built off Hamilton Road, in a bid to make stabling and training on the on the racecourse side of the town more attractive.
The Bury St Edmunds side of the town is now at 90% occupancy, according to the Jockey Club, meaning more trainers need to be encouraged to base themselves on the racecourse side.
The gallop will be an artificial hill, replicating the benefits of being able to gallop horses up Warren Hill on the other side of town.
The sky gallop, which will include a 450m-long bridge section, has been recommended for approval to Forest Heath District Council’s planning committee, which will meet on Wednesday.
William Gittus, managing director of Jockey Club Estates, said: “At present, the growth in numbers of horses trained in Newmarket shows little sign of slowing, and the increases have undoubtedly played a key role in the horseracing industry’s contribution to the local economy exceeding £210m per annum, and providing over 8,500 jobs.
“However, at 90% occupancy, the capacity of Bury Side to meet future demand is limited.
“To enable further growth, and the economic benefits and employment that will bring to the district, we need to encourage more trainers to base themselves on racecourse side, where there is scope for expansion.
“[It] is a key part of a wider masterplan to make Racecourse Side more attractive to trainers.
“It already possesses fantastic facilities but lacks an uphill gallop for conditioning horses, which is seen by many as an essential part of the trainer’s toolkit.”
No consultees objected to the gallop, which people in some areas will be able to see from some distance, with the officer highlighting the significant benefits to the local economy outweighing potential negative impacts.
The scheme has the backing of the West Suffolk MP Matt Hancock, a keen horseman himself and a supporter of the racing industry. The industry has continued to grow in the past years, with around 3,000 horses using Newmarket’s training facilities every month.