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Newmarket: Work on national heritage centre for horseracing can now start

PUBLISHED: 08:36 11 July 2013 | UPDATED: 09:23 11 July 2013

Mercury At the Races

Mercury At the Races

Archant

Building work can now start on the National Heritage Centre for Horseracing and Sporting Art as fundraising reaches £15million.

The centre at the Palace House site in the centre of Newmarket, due to open in 2015, will cement the town’s status as the historic home of horseracing. It is expected to attract between 40,000 and 50,000 people and provide an annual £1.8m boost to west Suffolk’s economy.

Peter Jensen, chairman of the Home of Horseracing Trust, which is raising the funds for the project, announced more than £15m had now been raised for the new centre, saying it was His Highness Sheikh Mohammed’s generosity “that has now taken us over the line” and would allow the building contract to be awarded later this month.

Christopher Garibaldi, director of the National Horseracing Museum, said: “We are obviously absolutely delighted. It’s a major milestone to have passed.

“What’s so exciting is it means the project eight years in the making ... is now going to be a reality and we hope very much to start building this autumn and that would mean opening in the latter half of 2015.

“And I think it’s so important and exciting in terms of Newmarket’s economic regeneration: the knock-on effect in terms of the additional tourist visitors it will bring to the town, and I think in terms of the whole region’s tourist offer.

“It really gives us an opportunity to open the world of horseracing to as wide an audience as possible.”

The project will see the restoration of the Palace House Stables and Trainer’s House and will provide space for the collections of the British Sporting Art Trust and the Tate. It will also become the flagship home for the Retraining of Racehorses charity, giving the public the opportunity to see real former race horses.

The site will also see an enlarged library and new permanent galleries.

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