Wales to get cutting-edge race circuit

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Wales to get cutting-edge race circuit

A new racing circuit, that will be capable of hosting an array of professional motor racing championships, has been given the go ahead at Ebbw Vale.

The project is said to cost around £280 million but councillors say the Circuit of Wales will create "thousands of jobs" near Rassau Industrial estate and inject around £50 million a year into the economy.
> Plans involve not just a motor racing circuit but tracks for karting and motocross, as well as a technology park for research, development and support services in the automotive and motor sports sectors.

Although, officials have said it will not host any Formula 1 races.

Developers estimate that the project will require some 3,000 construction positions as well as create 4,000-6,000 full-time jobs when the track is due to be completed in 2015/2016.

Michael Carrick, chief executive of developers the Heads of the Valleys Development Company, told the BBC: "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 mobilised.

"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.

Surprisingly, only a small number of environmental voices raised concerns and the 830-acre site was recommended for approval by council officials before councillors gave it their approval.

It is the Association of Motor Racing Circuit Owners that believes the circuit is a bad idea.

Wales to get cutting-edge race circuit

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."