Posted 17/01/2017

What will 2017 hold for Newmarket?

What will 2017 hold for Newmarket?

Well, 2016 was quite a year!  A visit from the Queen to unveil her statue and the opening of Palace House were surely the highlights.  

The year also saw the opening of the newly refurbished railway station and yet more coverage on the ongoing Hatchfield Farm debate. Mildenhall Airbase announced its closure which will potentially affect local businesses and will particularly affect businesses and individuals with rental properties. More importantly, the closure will input to the production of the Local Plan by West Suffolk County Council and FHDC.

Newmarket Academy and Godolphin announced the start of a formal partnership to help improve the career prospects of pupils, or at the very least give them some awareness of the breadth of the racing industry!  

The Town Council voted to employ its own PCSO which is no light decision given the rules and costs of employment.

The potential closure rail crossing seems quite crazy as it would effectively cuts the town in half, but many good people are on the case with this and hopefully sense will prevail.

The Newmarket BID was launched and will concentrate on the promotion of local events, the High Street and retail areas. The July Carnival and Christmas Winter Wonderland were two town-based events which proved as popular as ever.

The Christmas Lights debate generated many comments on social media and in the local papers and, of course, there have been disagreements and strongly held opinions voiced on each and every issue throughout the year.  

So, what do we expect as we get into 2017?  

The cinema project has been approved by the Town Council and is being incredibly well supported by a number of local people. The inclusion of a soft play centre and somewhere for teenagers to go seems vital as there is very little for these age groups to do in Newmarket. You can find more info on the project on their Facebook page.  The Stable, which is situated on the High Street, does already offer film screenings for cinema fans, as does Exning Village Cinema and, I believe, Freckenham Village Hall, but a larger and more expansive facility does make sense.

I think the prize for the most talked-about bit of news so far this year will definitely go to The Jockey Club! Their announcement that they are looking to build an all-weather racetrack in Newmarket - and to close Kempton racecourse - has certainly kept them in the papers recently. Whether it is a great idea or a terrible one remains to be seen, but I think it might just remain in the paper columns for a little longer. Their 'Sky Gallop' project for the Hamilton Road area looks impressive and it will be interesting to see how this develops.

Infrastructure and housing look likely to stay hot topics for the year, particularly given the racecourse proposals, the ongoing Hatchfield proposal and the Jockey Club's plans to build housing for those in racing roles. 

Whether your views fall firmly in the Home of Horseracing camp or you have a slightly wider view for the town, it looks as if it will be an interesting year!

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