We are currently working on proposals for up to 400 homes on farmland within Newmarket on behalf of the Earl of Derby. The site is in the greenbelt but is one of few which does not contravene horse-racing policies and which can be delivered in a sustainable manner.
A previous proposal for 1,200 homes prior to our involvement had been refused in the face of formidable opposition from the, exceptionally well funded, horse-racing industry. Snapdragon Consulting was appointed to deliver a consultation process to support the application for 400 homes as it came forward.
A programme of extensive consultation has been undertaken involving:
- Two public exhibitions
- Meetings with local stakeholders
- Seminars with local business and retail groups
- On-street and telephone survey of 18-35 year olds.
- On-line presence, including website and bespoke contact details.
- Regular appearances in the print and broadcast media
The local media continues to be extremely important. This has moved from being 100% opposed to plans to being a much more balanced approach with less hostility. The application received approval from Forest Heath District Council in February 2014, however it was called in by the then Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles. The Secretary of State refused the application, but the decision has now been taken to the High Court.