Work to start on Ebbw Vale racetrack, the Circuit of Wales, before Christmas
11:20am Saturday 28th September 2013 in News
WORK on the £280 million Circuit of Wales is set to begin this year after developers signed a legal agreement with Blaenau Gwent council, the Argus can reveal.
The authority has now granted outline planning permission for the Rassau project, with developers committing to set aside as much as £1.2 million for the local community.
Jonathan Jones, head of training and recruitment said the agreement is a “huge milestone for Circuit of Wales”.
He told the Argus: “The general message is its happening. We’ve been working behind the scenes with the local authority, Welsh Government and Natural Resources Wales to ensure we have a scheme ready to go.”
The Heads of the Valley Development Company (HVDC) is aiming to be on site to do pre-enabling work, like drainage, this side of Christmas, which construction likely to start next March.
Commitments in the section 106 legal agreement with the council include establishing 1,650 training places in construction and service sector industries, with contractors obligated to employ locals.
The firm is looking to work with colleges in South Wales including Coleg Gwent.
A total of £750,000 over ten years will go into a scheme to benefit the community, which could help benefit local start up businesses.
Another £50,000 a year – £500,000 over ten years – will be used to combat fuel poverty with a fixed price energy scheme for a number of residents and businesses in Blaenau Gwent.
The developer has also agreed to come to an arrangement agree with Natural Resources Wales on measures to reduce the project’s environmental impact.
HDVC has told Blaenau Gwent it will improve 200 acres of habitat, and has agreed in principle with NRW for another 600 to 800 acres to be improved, but the exact scheme is still being looked at with NRW.
The project’s first phase will be the construction of the “international specification” motor racing circuit with a 3.5 mile track, designed to host events like MotoGP and World Touring Car, as well as a hotel and commercial and retail complexes.
Blaenau Gwent MP Nick Smith said: “It’s great that the Circuit of Wales has got the green light from Blaenau Gwent Council.
“There’s a strong requirement for the use of local labour in the building of the project, the establishment of the Community Benefits Fund to finance green projects and the public arts project worth up to £1.5m.
“It will also please many that the track will be available for local groups and to provide a place for off-roaders who can be a menace on our mountainside at times.”
Developers will still need to apply and obtain detailed planning permission as the project progresses, but the first phase is aimed for completion by late 2015 – it is hoped in time for that year’s MotoGP.
Circuit of Wales also includes a Motocross track, an international karting track and off-road driving facilities, as well as a technology park to cater for research in the automotive and motor sports sectors.
Developers hope that 750,000 people will visit the facility each year, with £50 million per year expected to be generated for the Welsh economy annually.
It is claimed 3,000 jobs will be created during construction with 6,000 new jobs once development is finished.
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