MPs voice concerns over Kempton development

KWASI KWARTENG, the Conservative MP for the Spelthorne seat that includes Kempton Park, has been among those to voice opposition to the plan to close the track when the matter was discussed in the House of Commons on Thursday.

Laurence Robertson, co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Racing and Bloodstock, said members of that organisation had been left "horrified" by the news, while Shipley MP Philip Davies called the proposal "outrageous."

Kwarteng made clear he will not be offering any support to a plan the Jockey Club believes would raise at least £100 million of a £500m racing investment, as part of which an all-weather track would be built at Newmarket.

"I think it's a great shame," said Kwarteng.

"Kempton is a great cultural and sporting venue with heritage. It's great to have a place like Kempton Park racecourse in my constituency. I'm very sceptical about this development proposal and I'm very disappointed by it."

Kwarteng added: "In the first instance they will submit the planning application to the council, which I think is likely to reject it. It could then go all the way to appeal. Who knows what would happen at that stage? I've seen these things go either way.

"The borough will have commitments to build a certain number of units as part of the local plan. My own thinking is we don't need to develop Kempton Park. There are plenty of places in the local constituency that would be able to meet the housing need. It's not as if Kempton is the last bit of land we can develop."

Council figures in opposition

Any possibility of the local authority not rejecting the proposal, which was tabled in response to the council's 'Call for Sites', seems close to non-existent after Spelthorne Borough Council leader Ian Harvey made his feelings clear in an open letter.

Harvey, who had dismissed a Redrow plan to construct 1,500 houses on Kempton last April, wrote: "I was absolutely astonished to receive a letter from Curtain & Co, agents for Redrow, on Tuesday morning, advising me they were putting forward Kempton Park for a 3,000 home development, following our 'Call for Sites'.

"Many will recall my open letter to Redrow of last April, where I made my opposition, on behalf of the residents of Sunbury and Spelthorne, very clear and the proposal then was for 1,500 houses.

"Nothing has changed except my resolve, which has doubled! I cannot understand why the Jockey Club and Redrow continue pushing this hopeless cause!"

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