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R K

Govt Minister Matthew Hancock Lobbies Against Housebuilding For Racing Royalty

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http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/tory-minister-lines-up-with-racing-royalty-against-new-homes-9673862.html

Tens of thousands of pounds from wealthy individuals and companies connected to Newmarket's horse racing industry have been paid into the local Conservative Party branch of Business minister Matt Hancock, who opposed a controversial housing development the racing community believes will jeopardise the town's international reputation.

The Tory minister, who used to work for the Chancellor, George Osborne, lobbied and wrote personal letters to Eric Pickles, the Local Government Secretary, asking him to reject a 400-home development planned for the north east of the Suffolk town. Owners of some of Newmarket's renowned stud farms and training yards, who are among Britain's wealthiest people, have fought the proposed project at Hatchfield Farm, claiming it will damage Europe's largest horse training centre.

International owners such as Sheikh Mohammed Al Maktoum, owner of the Godolphin management team, threatened to pull out of Newmarket if the development on land owned by Lord Derby went ahead. Flat racing's aristocracy, including the Queen's trainer, Sir Michael Stoute, have almost universally voiced concern about further housing in the town.

After years of legal wrangles, appeals and revisions which scaled the Hatchfield project down from its original 1,200 homes, the Tory-controlled Forest Heath District Council passed the project last month by a 10 to five majority.

Just over a week later Mr Pickles announced that he was "calling in" the development to review their decision.

Mr Hancock, who has been against the development on Lord Derby's land since he was first elected to parliament in 2010, described the decision taken by his government colleague as "positive news for Newmarket and the racing industry as a whole".

However the decision flies in the face of current government policy, with the new Housing and Planning minister, Brandon Lewis, saying the government had "got Britain building again" and that his department would "pull out all the stops to help Britain's housing industry".

Mr Pickles' department confirmed receipt of a letter about Hatchfield from Mr Hancock, but said any decision to reveal its content rested with Mr Hancock.

Since 2010, Tattersalls, which has its headquarters in Newmarket, has donated more than £50,000 to the West Suffolk Conservative constituency party. The donations include £10,000 in February 2011, £5,000 in March 2011 and £6,000 in May 2011.

Tattersalls' marketing director, Jimmy George, said: "Yes, we've made donations over many years in support of our local MP, Matt Hancock, and before him Richard Spring. They've worked hard on behalf of the constituency and for the horse racing industry which is hugely important to us and to the community of Newmarket. And the donations reflect that."

Great British values.

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Stud fees?!

  • (a) Name of donor: Cheveley Park Stud Ltd
  • (a) Address of donor: Duchess Drive, Newmarket, Suffolk CB8 8DP
  • (a) Amount of donation or nature and value if donation in kind: £10,000
  • (a) Donor status: company
  • (a) (Registered 11 May 2011)
  • (a) Name of donor: Tattersalls Ltd
  • (a) Address of donor: Terrace House, 125 High Street, Newmarket, Suffolk CB8 9BT
  • (a) Amount of donation or nature and value if donation in kind: £6,000
Edited by R K

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Whole thing is a disgrace, the NIMBY 'save historic Newmarket' loons (Newmarket is about as historic as your nearest Tesco...a pretty medieval town it aint, I can count the historic buildings on one hand) who first said it would create noise disturbance for the horses (how a residential development enclosed by the A14/A11 6 lane dual carriageway on one side, a busy freight rail line on the second, and the busy A142 on the other, I don't know).

Then came the staple 'a badger lives there' argument.

Then came the celebrity endorsements in the shape of the sheikh, who owns what must be suffolks ugliest, most unsympathetic and overbearing house (which he spends all of a few days a year in...the other 360days that 20,000 sq ft is empty - but of course, foreigners mean more than priced out locals)

Not that it matters. Newmarket has become and utter dump over the last decade. Ely is much nicer and has accommodated growth.

These arabs didn't even threaten to pull out. They made some vague remark about rethinking their investment. Obviously its an empty threat...theyre not going to simply abandon hundreds of millons of investments.

Newmarket, like nearby Cambridge with the university, is run by a nasty little mafia who hold most normal people in contempt. Full of those pro-hunt little Englanders (and that's not to disparage all little Englanders, I consider myself one...but rather a classist timewarp tory sc*m subsection) EVERY other Cambridge commuter town has accepted new housing...Newmarket none, despite having a rail station and probably the best road to Cambridge (although still a bit crap)

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