West Suffolk Local Plan (Regulation 18) Issues and Options October 2020

Part 2 - local issues

Part 2 - 9. Horseracing

9.1. Newmarket is recognised as being the headquarters of the horseracing industry (HRI). This arises from the unique assembly of horseracing interests in the town and surrounding area covering all aspects of the racing industry. The historic association of these interests within the town, commencing with royal patronage under Charles I, has led to an unbroken relationship between the fortunes of the town and horseracing activity over the last 400 years. The Jockey Club, the sport's controlling body, and similar organisations for trainers and breeders are situated in the town. In addition, it is the location of the Tattersall's sales paddocks, The British Racing School, The National Heritage Centre for Horseracing and Sporting Art and a wide variety of closely related specialist bloodstock services, including veterinary health and research units, commercial and financial services and specialist suppliers. No other town in the country contains such a concentration of facilities which, taken together with the gallops, stud farms, training grounds and racecourses, gives Newmarket and the surrounding area its unique character and status.

9.2. The NPPF does not directly address equine uses or more specifically deal with the horseracing industry. However, as the HRI is interwoven with the economic, social and environmental make-up of the town and its surrounding area, elements of the NPPF dealing with building a strong, competitive economy, sustainable transport, and conserving and enhancing the natural and historic environment are all relevant.

Newmarket Gallops (2015)

Implications of the sustainability appraisal (SA) scoping report information

9.3. In terms of landscape the HRI is situated in the East Anglian Chalk National Character Area. A significant influence around Newmarket has historically been horseracing and stud farms, which have brought a manicured appearance to the landscape. There is great opportunity to work with the horseracing industry to improve the quality of the grassland and shelterbelts for the benefit of biodiversity. Strategic environmental objective 3 of the SA Scoping report is to conserve and promote the landscape character, geodiversity, historic environment and historical assets of the chalklands, including the strong equine association.

9.4. The horseracing industry is identified as a key component of the local economy, based in and around Newmarket. The Newmarket Equine Cluster Report identifies that the horseracing industry makes a very major contribution to the economy of Newmarket and the surrounding area.

Issues for the local plan

  • Protect the unique character, landscape, heritage and built environment of Newmarket and the surrounding area.
  • Protect, strengthen, diversify and grow the local economy.

9.5. It is important that whilst development that meets the needs of the community is promoted, the horseracing land uses and functions that contribute to the town and surrounding area's vitality and unique identity are also encouraged and where appropriate, protected. This balance is best achieved by developing and implementing appropriate planning policies. The fundamental challenges for the district council will remain the same as set out in previous local plans, namely, how to protect and promote the horseracing industry whilst also meeting the needs of the other equally important elements that make up the town of Newmarket and its rural hinterland. Current planning policies for the HRI are set out in the joint development management policies (JDMP) document (Policies DM47 through to DM50) and cover the following areas, development relating to the horseracing industry, development affecting the horseracing industry, redevelopment of existing sites relating to the horseracing industry, horse walks. The next consultation stage will provide opportunity to comment on policies related to the HRI.