PRESS RELEASE: Final approval given for Circuit of Wales project
Work on the £315M ($478.5M) Circuit of Wales project, which will bring a world-class motorsport venue to Blaenau Gwent alongside a one million sq. ft. technology park, can begin after the final planning issue was resolved. The circuit signed a contract with Dorna Sports to be the venue for the British GP from 2015 to 2019, but could not host this year’s race due to these issues:
Earlier this week, the Heads of the Valleys Development Company (HOTVDC) confirmed that the S16 application has been accepted clearing the final planning hurdle for the Circuit of Wales development.
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 added: “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.”
With the approval of the S16 application, HOTVDC can reveal that the required financing package is in place to support the project for the full amount and have 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.
“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,” said Michael Carrick, CEO of HOTVDC. “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 finalized, on-site activity will commence.
Additionally, HOTVDC are pleased to announce the appointment of Martin Whitaker as Circuit of Wales CEO who will be charged with managing the transformation of 830 acres of Blaenau Gwent into an international motorsport circuit, technology park and training facility, utilizing his extensive experience of working both on and off track. This appointment will allow Michael Carrick to focus his attentions on his role as CEO of the Heads of the Valleys Development Company, specifically managing the financial aspects of the project whilst remaining an active board member for the Circuit of Wales.
“Martin’s track record speaks for itself as he is one of the few men operating at the top level of international motorsport whose experience covers almost every facet of the sport,” said Michael Carrick, CEO of HOTVDC. “Martin has managed a modern Formula One venue at the Bahrain International Circuit, worked for both the sport’s governing body, the Federation Internationale de l’Autombile (FIA), and its commercial rights holder, plus the UK’s governing body - the RAC Motor Sports Association. Additionally, he has led a major motor manufacturer’s competition department and one of the world’s most celebrated racing series.
“The Circuit of Wales is already gaining experience and knowledge through our role as promoter of the British MotoGP. As we now focus our attentions on the build phase of the project, Martin’s guidance and experience will be invaluable to realizing its potential as a catalyst for investment in the local economy and across the motorsport industry in Britain.”
After leaving the UK for the Kingdom of Bahrain, Martin was tasked with shaping every aspect of the Bahrain International Circuit as CEO helping to deliver the inaugural Formula One race in the Middle East in 2004. In subsequent years the circuit quickly became the “Home of motorsport in the Middle East,” attracting an array of international motorsport series, and developed into the leading corporate, cultural and community facility in a region without a long association with the sport.
“It is with enormous excitement that I look forward to working with Michael and the team at the Circuit of Wales to deliver this unique project for the British motorsport industry, the automobile industry and the people of Blaenau Gwent,” said Martin Whitaker, Circuit of Wales CEO.
“I am passionate about the economic and social benefits that a venue such as the Circuit of Wales will bring, and firmly believe that the time is ripe for this development not only as an amazing entertainment and leisure center, but also as an invaluable resource for the entire British motorsport and automotive industry.”