Circuit of Wales track receives another rejection by Welsh Government

by Tom Jeffries

The Welsh Government has declined yet another plan to fund the Circuit of Wales in Ebbw Vale, rejecting the call for £210 million of public funding.

Despite the track having already secured the rights to the British round of MotoGP, a Welsh Government cabinet meeting last Tuesday decided to instead build an automotive business park.

This rejection is the latest in a series of knock-backs for the circuit, with the latest plan for the track asking for around 50% of the costs to be underwritten by the government; this was down from a previous bid of 80% last year.

The track was estimated to create around 6,000 jobs and bring in up to 750,000 visitors per year; figures disputed by the government who, having already spent £10 million of public money on the plan, now estimate the track would only create around 100 full-time jobs.

The Circuit of Wales already has several notable partnerships in addition to the MotoGP backing, being associated with insurance company Aviva (who could possibly cover new funding plan changes) and, in a partnership announced in January of this year, sports company Extreme. Though they wouldn’t be offering any additional funding, Extreme would be looking to develop hotels, music venues and sports facilities at the circuit.

Economy Secretary Ken Skates was keen to put the cost of the track into perspective, suggesting that the £210 million of public money could be put to better use elsewhere: “This represents the same cost as building, for example, the planned new Specialist and Critical Care Centre in Cwmbran, 10 schools similar to the new Ysgol Bae Baglan in Port Talbot, or the equivalent of 5,000 new affordable homes in communities right across Wales”.

It’s not yet clear what’s next for the potential track, which is already two years into its contract with Dorna to host the British MotoGP. With no track to race at the Circuit of Wales had to turn to Silverstone to host the race in 2015 and ’16, with the race to be held there again this year and possibly next year – almost taking the track to the end of its five-year deal. There is, however, an option of a five-year extension should the track go ahead.

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