The horsey set bridles at Earl's Newmarket plan
Friday 10 December 2010
John Gosden's acceptance speech was the customary string of thank-yous as he picked up International Trainer of the Year in front of the racing fraternity this week. But a sudden frisson gripped the audience at the Horserace Writers' and Photographers' Association lunch as the usually mild-mannered trainer launched a barbed attack on a man sitting nearby, the Earl of Derby, the event's patron.
"I know you are going through pecuniary times but I'm sorry to tell you there will be a collection tonight as you leave. Your patron is requiring a collection for an appeal he launched last Friday to brick over a greenfield site in Newmarket, 160 acres," Mr Gosden said. "Ignore the disingenuous PR. It is all about money and sheer greed."
Everyone at London's Royal Lancaster Hotel ceremony knew exactly what he was referring to, Lord Derby's plan to develop a large area on the outskirts of the Suffolk market town. Mr Gosden's wife, Rachel Hood, a leading light in the Save Historic Newmarket action group, is adamant that the entire racing world – including His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and his wife Princess Haya – is enraged by the proposal to "devastate and damage" the genteel Suffolk town.
The Sheikh's Godolphin Stables was among the signatories opposing Lord Derby's plans to build 1,200 houses along with shops, offices and leisure facilities at Hatchfield Farm when it came before Forest Heath District Council. The initial plan was rejected by the council on traffic grounds, but he lodged an appeal with the planning inspectorate on Friday.
"The entire racing and breeding industry has asked Lord Derby not to do this," Ms Hood said. "This is not a Nimby thing. Newmarket is a unique, historic town. People are obviously incensed and Lord Derby has been asked numerous times not to do this. He is riding roughshod over all of us. He doesn't even live in Newmarket. He lives near Liverpool."
The racing fraternity has lodged challenge at the High Court against the council's planning strategy. The authority calls this "a deplorable waste of taxpayers' money which it will be forced to defend". Lord Derby is trying to be conciliatory. He said: "Since the rejection of my application I have been trying to find a compromise solution that works for all ... That I have lodged this appeal must not detract from the fact that it remains my sincere wish that it will still be possible to work with the community to produce a new scheme that has support from most sections of Newmarket."
- 2 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 3 Watch: Man takes selfie every mile of 2,600 mile hike, creates amazing timelapse video
- 4 #FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
- 5 Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories
Germanwings captain Patrick Sondenheimer tried to break into locked cockpit door 'with an axe' as plane was descending
Amanda Knox murder conviction: Italian court overturns verdict for US student and Raffaele Sollecito in the killing of Meredith Kercher
Saudi Arabia says it won't rule out building nuclear weapons
The battle for the Middle East's future begins in Yemen as Saudi Arabia jumps into the abyss
Jeremy Clarkson 'could be given minder' ahead of a potential Top Gear return
Nigel Farage brands LGBT activists 'filth' and 'scum' and accuses them of scaring away his children after they invade his local pub
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Russia threatens Denmark with nuclear weapons if it tries to join Nato defence shield
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Revealed: Putin's army of pro-Kremlin bloggers
£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...
£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...
£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...