The Circuit of Wales has won the right to use common land it requires to build the multi-million pound track and motorsport centre. The Heads of the Valleys Development Company (HOTVDC) has confirmed that the required financing package is in place to support the project for the full amount and it has an exclusivity contract in place with the financial backers who are in the process of completing due diligence. Once these have been completed, the supporters of the project will be publicly announced and detailed construction timelines revealed.
After an extensive and robust eight-day Public Inquiry, sitting in March 2015, approval by the Deputy Minister for Farming and Food Rebecca Evans AM has permitted land previously designated as ‘common’ to be deregistered into private ownership. Throughout the Public Inquiry, Circuit of Wales presented detailed plans for substantial on and offsite mitigation highlighting the suitability of replacement land, which will lead to improved maintenance and ease of access.
Importantly, Planning Inspector Emyr Jones BSc (Hons) CEng NICE MCMI agreed stating in his report:
The likely out-turn of deregistration would be an overall enhancement of nature conservation interests[…]resulting in an overall nature conservation benefit as a result of the proposal as a whole.
Deputy Minister for Farming and Food Rebecca Evans commented:
For the reasons articulated in the report – both by the Inspector but also by other parties, I believe the socio-economic benefits that will result from the deregistration of the common land will be of significant public benefit to both the immediate area and beyond.
Michael Carrick, CEO of HOTVDC commented:
We would like to thank local councils, Welsh Assembly Members and the local community who have supported the project throughout the planning process up to this point. The Circuit of Wales has the ability to generate thousands of employment opportunities, attract greater long-term investment and deliver regeneration into Blaenau Gwent and South Wales.
Following the end of the judicial review period, and once construction and finance contracts have been finalised, on-site activity will commence.