BLAENAU Gwent councillors have agreed in principle to registering council land as common land so the Circuit of Wales project can go ahead.
The council received an application from Heads of the Valleys Development Company (HVDC), who are delivering the £280million 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.
Members of the council’s executive committee voted unanimously in favour of the move, subject to terms and conditions, to be determined later..
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.
A meeting of the executive considered 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 HVDC’s plan to have access to hundreds of acres of the common land earmarked for the project, so it can put in access roads and fences.
The company asked the council to 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.
While all of the members supported the move, some councillors expressed concerns, particularly in regard to finances, fencing and grazing, which officers said would be addressed when they drew up the terms and conditions of the agreement.
Hedley McCarthy, leader of the council, said after the meeting: “The decision is a clear sign of the commitment of this council to the Circuit of Wales project.
“We hope this will reassure the people of Blaenau Gwent that we are committed to this project – I think a lot of residents have felt jittery about it recently, and we hope this move will show we are as determined as ever to support this project.”
The council will now discuss the terms and conditions of the replacement common land. A report will then be presented to the executive for their approval.