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Hatchfield Farm, Newmarket

DATE: 14 Apr 2015

This was a three week inquiry into a proposed 400 dwelling development at Hatchfield Farm on the edge of Newmarket. A previous proposal for 1200 dwellings had been the subject of an unsuccessful appeal to the Secretary of State in 2011-2012 following the quashing by the High Court of the allocation of the site in the Forest Heath Core Strategy: see Save Historic Newmarket Ltd. v. Forest Heath District Council [2011] EWHC 606 (Admin). The subsequent application for 400 dwellings was the subject of a resolution to grant by Forest Heath District Council’s planning committee, but was called in by the Secretary of State for his own determination. 

The inquiry centred on the impact that the development would have on the horse racing industry centered in Newmarket and its potential effect on Chippenham Fen SSSI (part of the Fenland SAC) due to abstraction required to supply the development with water. Expert evidence was heard on the subjects of economics, equine behavior, the horse racing industry, hydrology, ecology and planning. 

Christopher Boyle QC and Andrew Parkinson appeared for the Applicant, Lord Derby, instructed by Trevor Blaney of Blaney Planning. 

David Elvin QC and Charles Banner appeared for the Newmarket Horsemen’s Group, who were a Rule 6 party to the inquiry and the principal objectors, instructed by Simon Rawlins of Bracher Rawlins LLP.

On 1 September 2016 the Secretary of State published his decision refusing planning permission (departing from the recommendation of his Inspector).