Circuit of Wales proposals to face public inquiry

A public inquiry is to be held into the future of plans to build a 5.6 kilometre racetrack, hotel, business and retail development on land on the edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park near Ebbw Vale.

An artist's visualisation of the proposed development
An artist's visualisation of the proposed development

Outline proposals for the Circuit of Wales development, submitted by the Heads of the Valleys Development Corporation, were approved by Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council in July last year.

Shortly afterwards, ministers issued a direction preventing the authority from granting full permission for the application on the grounds that it may be called in for government-level determination.

The scheme, which would sit on a 344-hectare site on the edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park, includes proposals for a hotel, an off-road 4x4 circuit, a kart track and motocross track, as well as a technology park for research, development and support services in the automotive and motor sports sectors.

There would also be a motorsport race academy to develop young riders and drivers.

A spokeswoman for the Welsh government confirmed to Planning that ministers had recovered jurisdiction on the application and that an inquiry was expected in June.

"The inquiry is being held to determine whether proposed works on common land should be granted under section 38 of the Commons Act 2006," she said.

"There are matters that require further examination and the Planning Inspectorate considers that an inquiry is the most suitable forum for this.

"Once the inquiry has closed, the appointed Inspector will prepare a report for the Welsh ministers who will determine the application in due course."

Blaenau Gwent council leader Hedley McCarthy said the development was a vital part of the area’s future.

"For so long, the heads of the valleys have needed sustainable investment," he said.

"Building the Circuit of Wales will transform Blaenau Gwent into a fantastic ‘go to’ destination for all motorsport and racing fans."

No-one from the Heads of the Valleys Development Corporation had responded to Planning’s request for a comment at time of publication.

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