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Jockey rehabilitation centre plan for Malton thrown into doubt
PROPOSALS for a multi-million pound rehabilitation centre for injured jockeys which would provide a major boost for the local racing industry and Ryedale’s economy could be in jeopardy.
Members of the charity, which hoped to see Jack Berry House built this year, will now meet to decide whether to pursue the application or look elsewhere in Yorkshire.
Malton had been earmarked for the IJF’s second rehabilitation centre in the UK, with Jack Berry MBE, vice-president of the charity, spearheading the campaign for a facility in the north of England.
The £5 million Oaksey House in Lambourn, Berkshire, was opened in 2009 to provide accommodation and facilities, including specialist physiotherapy, medical consultations and a rehabilitation gym.
John Fairley, from Norton’s Highfield Stables, a trustee of the IJF, said: “Our chief executive and professional advisors came away from the meeting with council officer very disappointed.
“We have looked at 12 sites in Malton and Norton and they all had problems of one kind or another.”
Mr Fairley said many people felt the centre should be in Middleham or Catterick, but he had always pushed for Malton, knowing the benefits it would bring to the area.
“It would be absolutely state-of-the-art with people coming here from across the north of England. As well as creating jobs the centre will bring people to spend money in the area.
“The IJF may decide to persist with this site or go elsewhere in Yorkshire. A decision will be made in the next week to 10 days but they are not actively looking at other sites in Malton.
“I have not given up on bringing the centre to Malton, far from it, but this is a big setback.”
Concerns had already been expressed by Malton Town Council over the proposed location. Coun Martin Dales said there were plenty of other sites that could be considered.
He said: “It is our job to represent what people are saying and there has been some concern over this site. People want the centre but they want it in the right place.”
“I do hope that they don’t look elsewhere and revisit some of the other locations in Malton. This is a marvellous opportunity but it needs proper consideration and discussion.”
Gary Housden, head of planning at Ryedale District Council, said: “Officers are working closely with the Injured Jockey Fund to identify a less sensitive site for this substantial facility than the area they initially identified.
“The council is acutely aware of the value of locating the proposed Jack Berry House facility in Malton and Norton, not only for the injured jockeys who would be treated there but also for the local racing industry and for the economy of Ryedale.
“The council has suggested a number of alternative locations for the facility and the Injured Jockeys Fund is now investigating these.”