Horsewalk prompts play area re-think

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A COUNCIL may have to re-think plans for a new children’s play area after trainers said it was too close to a busy horse walk.

Forest Heath District Council contacted trainers as part of a consultation exercise linked to a proposal to establish a new play area for youngsters living in the new development of more than 300 homes off George Lambton Avenue.

It had taken up the issue, and set aside funding for the project, after being contacted by Newmarket Town Council, which had been made aware of the lack of facilities for children by parents campaigning for a new zebra crossing in Exning Road.

The piece of land the council’s countryside team was considering was near Frampton Close in between the footpath known as the Yellow Brick Road and the horsewalk, which links Fordham Road stables with the Rayes Lane horsewalk.

Last month, district council officers met William Gittus, managing director of Jockey Club Estates and trainers using the horsewalk, including William Jarvis, Roger Varian, Chris Wall, Marco Botti and James Fanshawe.

In a letter to the council Mr Gittus said: “All of the trainers consulted and I, fully support the development of play areas which encourage children to play in a safe and healthy way.

“However, it was felt most strongly that the proposed location of this particular play area adjoining a horsewalk which, once the development at Millennium Stables is completed, will be used by hundreds of horses every day poses a considerable risk to the health and safety of horses and riders, and to members of the public, if horses become riderless.”

Mr Gittus added: “We are unable to think of any mitgation measures which would permit the safe development of a play area in this location.”

He said if it was possible to locate the play area at least 30 metres from the horsewalk it might be possible to design it so it posed less of a safety risk.