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Circuit of Wales suffers setback

Circuit of Wales suffers setback
A new racing circuit that would put Wales on the map in the world of motorsport has suffered a setback in the construction process.

The £280 million Circuit of Wales plan has been put on hold by the Welsh government while ministers decide whether the scheme should go ahead. The development is due to be created at Ebbw Vale, Blaenau Gwent, but has faced opposition from the Gwent Wildlife Trust which said that the circuit would damage habitats. The government has now issued a holding direction which gives ministers extra time to fully consider the proposals.

Outline planning permission for the development has been granted by Blaenau Gwent on July 10th but these are now to be revised. When the original proposals were given the green light the racetrack was said to make the area a "go to destination" for motorsport fans while also providing a significant boost to the local economy. The circuit is expected to generate £50 million a year due to the influx of visitors.

Developers are targeting every form of motorsport, apart from Formula One, and give the employment sector in the area a major shot in the arm. They estimated that around 3,000 construction positions as well as 4,000 to 6,000 new full-time roles would be generated. The latter would begin when the track is completed in 2015/16.

However, after the government received a request to call in the plans for inspection the overall project has been put on hold. Officials behind the scheme want building work to begin by the end of 2013 but will be conditional on the outcome of the government assessment.

Michael Carrick, chief executive of Heads of the Valleys Development Company said: "We are very confident in the outline planning application we have submitted and are delighted that we received the unanimous backing of Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council.

"The Welsh government has asked for more time to look at the project and we're happy to continue engaging with them and all stakeholders to ensure we address, as much as possible, the specific concerns they have."

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Date: 01/08/2013 16:12:35

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