Joint funded project increases safety of Newmarket’s horse crossings
- Suffolk Highways and Jockey Club Estates working together
Jockey Club Estates and Suffolk Highways are pleased to announce the completion of another phase in the jointly funded programme to improve safety on horse crossings in Newmarket.
Last week two new sets of bespoke traffic lights for horse crossings became operational on the main road to the west of the town, known as Barbara Stradbrook Avenue. The stretch of road provides access for horses using two key parts of the Newmarket Training Grounds, the Links Schooling Grounds and the Cambridge Road Polytrack gallop.
The collaborative approach to upgrading the seventeen horse crossings spread across Newmarket began last year with the start of a twelve-month long trial of a new non-slip surface. The rubber surface was installed on the Bury Road and Moulton Road horse crossings in the summer and is being monitored from the perspective of both horse and rider safety and its durability.
Pending approval from the relevant parties, and following the introduction of the new lights on Barbara Stradbrook Avenue, the next phase of the project will combine the installation of the highways approved non-slip surface with up-graded horse crossings in and around the town. These will involve two types of crossing: one known as ‘Pegasus’ crossings, with red, amber and green lights, while ‘Active’ crossings use flashing signs to warn drivers in advance when horses are crossing.
The cost of the programme is being match funded by Suffolk Highways and Jockey Club Estates.
Nick Patton, Managing Director of Jockey Club Estates, said: “This is an important project and we are delighted to be working with Suffolk Highways on upgrading Newmarket’s horse crossings. No matter how good our gallops and facilities are, if the 2,500 horses trained in Newmarket cannot get across town safely, we are not delivering on our objective of being a recognised centre of excellence and a world class training centre.”
“With the help of our transport consultant, Mike Cottee (Cottee Transport Planning), and through liaison with Suffolk County Council, together we have produced a masterplan to address all of the horse crossings and bring them up to a consistent standard, making them safer for horses, riders, motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.”
Carl Ashton, Transport Policy and Development Manager at Suffolk County Council, said: “We are delighted to see the completion of these two new crossings in Newmarket, this is another key step towards improving the safety of Newmarket’s horse crossings. The equine industry is essential to Suffolk, so we are pleased to be working with Jockey Club Estates on this important project.”
Newmarket is the largest training centre in the country. There are currently 2,500 horses based in the town, using a network of horsewalks and horse crossings on a daily basis in order to use the facilities on 2,500 acres of training grounds. Combined,
the horseracing and thoroughbred breeding related businesses in and around Newmarket contribute over £240m to the local economy per annum, directly employing 3,600 and providing in excess of 9,300 jobs in total.
In 2019 there was no shortage of success stories emanating from yards using the Lambourn Training Grounds as a number of trainers posted personal bests during the year.
Newmarket based horses, trainers and jockeys enjoy a year to remember
Kingsdown, one of the principal gallops available to Lambourn-trained horses, has re-opened after an extensive refurbishment by Jockey Club Estates.