Action is being taken to secure the future of important listed buildings, allowing a gateway site in Newmarket to be brought forward.
West Suffolk Council’s Cabinet, meeting tonight, Tuesday, February 11, agreed to use the local authority’s powers to serve an Urgent Works Notice designed to prevent further deterioration of Queensbury Lodge, Cottage and Stables, while the council works with the owner to bring forward a scheme to restore the buildings to use.
Queensbury Lodge is thought to be the second oldest yard in Newmarket, the international home of horseracing, and includes three properties on the Suffolk listed buildings at-risk register.
New planning policy adopted in September 2019 allows development in order to fund restoration of the buildings, which are in an increasingly fragile condition. Should they fall down, the policy is lost, as is the opportunity to find a way forward for the site.
Urgent work involves making the buildings weatherproof, secure and stable. It does not require them to be restored to use. Serving an Urgent Works Notice means asking the owner their intentions in carrying out the work. It helps establish what is deemed necessary and gives every opportunity for the owner to agree. Should the owner find themselves unable to say “yes”, the local authority has powers to undertake the work and recover the costs.
Susan Glossop, Cabinet member for Growth said: “The recently adopted policy is a fresh opportunity to bring a scheme forward to the benefit of all, not least being the town. So it is in everyone’s interests to keep the buildings from collapse. We are committed to finding a way forward for the site and believe this is a positive and helpful step that keeps options open. We are mindful of the potential risk of being unable to recover the cost of the work and are taking steps to manage that, and in the meantime our planners continue to work with the owner on a development brief.”