The Schwarzenegger gambit

The Jockey Club announced today that they have asked Spelthorne Council to consider an application for a smaller development – 550 dwellings – on the Kempton Park estate.

“The Local Plan process continues and a new submission at the Preferred Options Consultation stage has seen a much smaller part of the site highlighted by The Jockey Club and Redrow Homes for the Council’s consideration, alongside the original proposals. This would involve only previously developed land and would retain all racing facilities to continue as today, including both the Jumps course and All-Weather Track.”

This latest brass-neck manoeuvre is aimed more at placating that substantial membership of The Jockey Club who oppose the planned closing of Kempton Park racecourse. And it assumes local opinion will be mollified by a smaller development. But both groups should beware. We don’t believe for one second that this will be the end of it. The Jockey Club and Redrow will be back.

Our position remains the same: We don’t want ANY houses on Kempton Park.

Arup and Spelthorne Council have twice assessed Kempton Park, and twice concluded it is “strongly performing” Green Belt. And that includes the area taken up by the racecourse, the grandstand, and all the other buildings – “the previously developed land” as The Jockey Club puts it. Green Belt does not mean green space, as they well know.

As the Jockey Club itself says, this schoolboy wheeze of theirs has been submitted alongside their original proposals for 3000 dwellings on Kempton Park. i.e. they still want the Green Belt status of the entire estate to be lifted. And always remember, they could build far more than 3000 dwellings even given current density guidelines, and those guidelines will rise in the future. The Jockey Club has been playing with the numbers they want to build for years, saying one thing to some people, and another thing to others.

Our message to Spelthorne Council is clear: Don’t let The Jockey Club terminate our Green Belt and home.


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