Plans for a rehabilitation centre for injured jockeys are on hold after Ryedale District Council rejected the proposed site close to the Malton and Norton Rugby Club in Malton. The Injured Jockeys' Fund, which is providing funding for the scheme now has to look at alternative sites.
The centre, which would have similar specialist physiotherapy, medical consultations and rehabilitation gym, alongside accommodation for jockeys needing long-term support, would be very similar to the £5 million Oaksey House in Lambourn. This facility has already won substantial praise for helping jockeys get back on their feet (and in the saddle) more quickly than in the past.
A poll in the local York Press showed 84% of people favoured building the centre in Malton, which Cllr Martin Dales from Malton Town Council acknowledged. 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 (the IJF) 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."
Speaking for the IJF, local trustee John Fairley said, "Our chief executive and professional advisers came away from the meeting with council officers very disappointed. We have looked at 12 sites in Malton and Norton and they all had problems of one kind or another."
As well as providing a Northern treatment and recovery centre for jockeys the facility would provide a major boost for the local racing industry and the economy in Ryedale. Fairley said, "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 be called Jack Berry House) to Malton, far from it, but this is a big setback."
Gary Housden, head of planning at Ryedale district Council also appeared keen that Jack Berry Houseshould be located in the town. "Officers are working closely with the Injured Jockeys' Fund to identify a less sensitive site for this substantial facility that the area they initially identified.the council is acutely aware of the value of locating the proposed Jack Berry House facilityin 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."