London 2012 warns equestrian training camps not to claim Olympic involvement

  • London 2012 has warned training camp providers not to claim Olympic involvement when seeking planning permission to improve facilities, following controversial plans for an equestrian park in Newmarket.

    The application from Stetchworth Equine, which developed the Newmarket Equine Hospital (NEH), has met a barrage of local opposition. But while Newmarket concerns reflect the division between racing and equestrianism, council planners contest claims the facility is needed for 2012.

    Last year, London 2012 named 60 equestrian centres in its pre-games training camp (PGTC) guide, though not all will be required. NEH is listed as a vet facility, not a camp. Yet Stetchworth’s proposals include facilities for “six Olympic teams”, a 1,100m gallop, an indoor arena and cross-country course.

    East Cambridgeshire District Council said: “The links to the London Olympics are more aspirational than concrete.”

    A London 2012 spokesman said Stetchworth was asked not to mention the Olympic in planning applications.

    “All PGTC providers must have planning and funding before any consideration is made, and they may not use our name,” said the spokesman. “We do not influence or endorse any individual planning application.”

    2012 aside, plans for the horse park are a big issue in Newmarket.

    Susanna Sanlon of planning consultants Barton Willmore, who represents major studs, said: “Racing adheres to stringent disease control practices, which many non-thoroughbred disciplines do not.”

    Jockey Club chief Simon Bazalgette objected to the council with “utmost seriousness”, while Edmund Mahony, chairman of Tattersalls, said the plans were “wholly out of scale with requirements”.

    Jockey Club Estates, Newmarket Trainers Federation, The Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association, Newmarket Stud Farmers Association and The National Stud are among other major stakeholders to object.

    This article was first published in Horse & Hound (26 February, ’09)

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