BLAENAU Gwent councillors are to meet this week to discuss registering council land as common land so the Circuit of Wales project can go ahead.
The council has received an application from Heads of the Valleys Development Company, who are delivering the £280 million project, for various parcels of council-owned land to be registered as common land to replace the common land being used at the Circuit of Wales development site.
The company needs to identify 652.34 acres of replacement common land for the site to go ahead. The council has been asked to allow around 491 acres of its land to be made into common land. In addition, other landowners have been approached by the company and discussions are ongoing.
On Wednesday a meeting of the executive will consider whether or not it will allow its land to be put into common, just days after the Welsh Government announced the project will be the subject of a four-day planning inquiry in June.
The inquiry will focus on the Heads of the Valley Development Company Limited’s wish to have access to hundreds of acres of the common land earmarked for the project, so it can begin putting in access roads and fences.
A report by Andrea Jones, the council’s head of legal and compliance, will be presented to members, recommending that the council agrees to the plan with terms and conditions which will be submitted to the executive at a later date.
The company has asked if the council will allow the following parcels of land to be put forward as replacement common land: 90.46 acres of land at Green Meadow Farm, Cwmtillery; 41.10 acres at Bryn Farm, Brynmawr; 121.08 acres of Sirhowy Woodlands, Tredegar; 74.13 acres of land surrounding Waun-y-Pound Industrial Estate and Cardiff Pond, Ebbw Vale; 123.55 acres of Garden City Woodlands; and 40.40 acres of land east of Crown Business Park, Tredegar.
The council would not be giving the land to the company – if it allows the land to be used as replacement common it will remain the owner subject to common rights.
While the report recommends the move it also states: “The council needs to take a balanced view of whether the risk of losing the scheme to the area is greater than the registration of areas of land as common which already have a degree of statutory environmental protection.”