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DATE News (chronologically)
07/11/13
track news
Circuit Of Wales Gets Green Light To Develop $417M Racetrack (4th Update)  UPDATE #4 Michael Carrick, chief executive of developers the Heads of the Valleys Development Company, pledged to "deliver a truly innovative and sustainable business, helping to deliver long term economic and social benefits for the region".

He said: "It is a hugely important development, not just for the regeneration of Blaenau Gwent but also for the UK economy, and will enable significant private capital to be mobilized.

"This is a showcase for a new type of investment model, a partnership between private investment and government to deliver a transformational business to the region."

A £2m loan from the Welsh government has been made and the developers are trying to secure more public money.

The rest of the money is being borrowed from banks with the intention to raise £150m from institutional investors such as pension funds which would become part owners of the track.

Despite some environmental concerns, the scheme occupying 335 hectares (830 acres) was recommended for approval by council officials before councilors gave it their approval.

Gwent Wildlife Trust, Brecon Beacons National Park, and Natural Resources Wales objected to the plan.

Meanwhile, the Association of Motor Racing Circuit Owners (AMRCO) said the track would harm motorsport.

Jonathan Palmer, chairman of AMRCO which represents 17 UK race tracks, said: "The UK circuit industry welcomes innovation and investment, however history and experience suggest that an investment of this magnitude in a motor racing circuit will never produce a return for investors.

"It is a real concern that this will turn into a white elephant at the expense of much needed public funds, and we hope this project will now be subject to careful scrutiny by Welsh government inspectors and the Wales Audit Office."

In response, a spokesman for the Circuit of Wales said: “It’s no surprise that we are seen as a competitive threat to many of the existing sites that we have in the UK.

"Over the course of the last three years we have met with senior management of 11 of the 17 circuit owners, many of whom have input into our business plan and several operators who have expressed interest in providing services to the circuit."

Welsh government inspectors are still considering whether to review the project.  BBC News Wales

Circuit of Wales
07/10/13
In Cardiff, Liam Moffett reported the scheme "had been met with opposition amid concerns about the environment." Among them was the Open Spaces Society, which "expressed concern about the circuit damaging common land on the edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park." Environmental watchdog Natural Resources Wales said the scale of the circuit would have “unacceptable environmental impacts,” including impacts on the special qualities of the protected landscape. During a full meeting, Blaenau Gwent Council members "granted outline planning approval." It means that HVDC will now "have to go away and draw up more detailed plans before the scheme can get the final rubber stamp." Wales Online

07/10/13 The PA's Benjamin Wright reported that a track spokesperson said, ''The heart of the 830-acre complex will be a state-of-the-art motor sport facility, certified to host national and international motor sport events, with a 3.5-mile track taking advantage of the unique topography of Ebbw Vale. As well as being the U.K.'s first high-tech low-carbon motor racing facility, it will act as a business hub for global automotive companies and represent high-technology excellence.'' Officials also said that the "proposed development included an academy to develop young drivers as well as helping regenerate one of the poorest parts of Wales." PA

07/10/13 The biggest new motor racing development in Britain "has been given the go-ahead with hugely ambitious targets" to earn £50M ($74.6M) a year, according to Kevin Eason of the LONDON TIMES.

Outline planning permission "has been rubber-stamped" for a £280M ($417M) development that will have a 3.5-mile circuit set in Ebbw Vale in South Wales. The development "is a partnership between government and a private investor and the claims for its future are huge."

The Circuit of Wales will create up to 6,000 full-time jobs and attract 750,000 visitors annually "hosting national and international motor racing events, it is said, as well as becoming a hub for motor industry research and education."

Optimism "is running high for the success of the circuit when it opens" toward the end of '15 or early '16. However, an economic downturn and a sport struggling to generate interest and entries "must place a question mark over the ambition of a project on this scale."

Britain already has two full-scale circuit complexes, at Silverstone and Donington, with many more smaller circuits, such as Croft in the north of England, Snetterton in Norfolk and the "charismatic" Brands Hatch in Kent. London Times

11/01/12
Planned Circuit of Wales
Plans were unveiled Wednesday "for a $404M Circuit of Wales near Ebbw Vale," according to Tom Cary of the London TELEGRAPH. FCC Construccion, the Spanish firm behind the tracks in Jerez and Valencia, Spain and local company Alun Griffiths Ltd. "have been appointed to deliver a mountaintop 3.5-mile circuit," built to motorsports governing body FIA and motorcycle governing body FIM standards, near the Brecon Beacons National Park in South Wales.

While F1 "has not yet been mentioned," the Heads of the Valleys Development Company released a statement that said the Circuit of Wales will be designed to host "international events such as MotoGP, World Superbikes, World Motocross, IndyCar and World Touring Car."

If the plans become reality it would threaten Silverstone racetrack's control of elite motorsport events in the U.K. The statement added that a contractual agreement with the construction partners would ensure that a "significant number" of building jobs would go to local workers. The touted figure of £250M "would likely be the largest lump sum ever spent on a racing circuit in the U.K." TELEGRAPH
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