A planned £280m state-of-the-art motorsport circuit in Wales has been given the go-ahead after successfully winning outline planning permission from the local Blaenau Gwent council.
Dubbed the ‘Circuit of Wales’, the 3.5-mile race circuit – already drawn up by renowned circuit design company Apex – will be at the heart of a £280m multipurpose redevelopment plan for the Ebbw Vale, with construction work on the circuit intended to begin at the end of the year, with a target for completion set for 2015/16.
With an estimated 750,000 visitors a year, the new circuit is already intended to host international motorsport events, with eyes towards hosting a possible Formula 1 event in the future, developers already in close contact with MotoGP promoter Dorna.
A race academy and training facility to develop future Welsh and UK talent will work in unison with the motor racing circuit, while a hotel – as well as commercial and retail complexes – are also intended to be completed under the first phase of construction alongside this, development of a low-carbon industry hub also to take place.
Michael Carrick, Chief Executive of the Heads of the Valleys Development Company Ltd, said: “I’d like to acknowledge the tremendous support of the local community of Blaenau Gwent and the Welsh Government. We promise to deliver a truly innovative and sustainable business, helping to deliver long-term economic and social benefits for the region.
“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.”
Dorna meanwhile have working closely with those involved in the project as they bid to bring major events such as MotoGP to Wales, their Chief Executive Officer, Carmelo Ezpeleta, saying: “It’s fantastic. I think this is a very important programme for MotoGP and for motor sport in general.
“It is good for the area and good for the community, and the team behind it will have whatever help they need from us. We have already been working with them and we will continue to do so.”
The circuit also boosts the array of business opportunities both during construction of the project and following it’s completion, Jonathan Jones, Head of Training and Recruitment of the Heads of the Valleys Development Company Ltd, adding that around 4000-6000 jobs are likely to appear upon the circuit’s intended completion. “The Circuit of Wales will mean the creation of some 3,000 construction jobs for South Wales as well as 4,000-6,000 new full-time jobs when the track is completed in 2015/16”, said Jones.
“The project will change the outlook and aspirations of thousands of young people across the Blaenau Gwent community and give them opportunities for training and careers in retail, services, technology and the automotive industry.”
Dylan Hurter, Youth Ambassador for the Heads of the Valleys Development, concluded that the project will also be hugely productive for youngsters in the region to find the work opportunities of their desire.
He said: “It’s been an amazing experience to be a part of such an impressive project. As youth ambassadors, we assisted the team in community consultations so we’ve seen first hand what this project means to people from the local area. People of our age in Blaenau Gwent don’t get these sorts of opportunities very often, if at all, but that will change with Circuit of Wales. It gives young people in this region more motivation to do well in their education if they know there will be jobs for them at the end of it.”