An appeal by developers wanting to build 1,200 homes on Hatchfield Farm in Newmarket has been turned down by the government.

After four years of fighting by the Save Historic Newmarket Group secretary of state Eric Pickles rejected the application last Friday (23 March).

The campaign group was set up in 2008 to protest against the new development plans, proposed by Lord Derby.

They opposed them on the grounds that the increased housing would bring in more traffic, endanger horses and also destroy the core racing element of the town.

The plans would have increased the size of the town by a third and included building blocks of modern flats in Newmarket’s conservation area, which were opposed by top Newmarket trainers including John Gosden, John Berry and Luca Cumani.

The planning application was unanimously opposed by Forest Heath District Council in June 2010.

And following an appeal issued by Lord Derby in December that year, a planning inquiry was held at Mildenhall in September 2011, at which Save Historic Newmarket, Tattersalls, Jockey Club Estates, Darley, Godolphin, Newmarket Trainers’ Federations, Newmarket Stud Farmers’ Association and the district council all voiced their opposition to the plans.

Now after a long fight the plans have been rejected.

Rachel Hood, organiser of the group and wife of trainer John Gosden, said: “We are so grateful for everyone’s support.

“We’ve spent a lot of money fighting this, and hopefully this will be the end. The people of Newmarket, and everyone involved with racing and breeding were appalled by the plans. It was unthinkable – you can’t train horses in a commuter town.

“We are glad Newmarket has been recognised as unique and historic. It’s also important for people to see you can stand up against plans. The only person who would have benefitted from this was Lord Derby, it was essential to protect the racing industry.”

Emma Berry, wife of trainer John Berry added: “It’s more a relief than anything, the campaign was well backed by the racing and breeding industries has been hard fought.”

Lord Derby has six weeks to appeal.

For more information visit: www.historicnewmarket.co.uk