Jonathan Palmer, chairman of the Association of Motor Racing Circuit Owners (AMRCO), has warned that the proposed Circuit of Wales motorsport complex could turn into 'a white elephant at the expense of much needed public funds'.

Outline planning permission for the ?280 million development, which will include a 3.5 mile circuit as well as Motocross and kart tracks, commercial and retail complexes and a technology park, was granted on Wednesday.

Construction is scheduled to start later this year, with an estimated completion date of 2015-16.

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However the BBC quotes Palmer, in his role as chairman of AMRCO, which represents 17 UK race tracks, as saying: "The UK circuit industry welcomes innovation and investment, however history and experience suggest that an investment of this magnitude in a motor racing circuit will never produce a return for investors.

"It is a real concern that this will turn into a white elephant at the expense of much needed public funds, and we hope this project will now be subject to careful scrutiny by Welsh government inspectors and the Wales Audit Office."

The Circuit of Wales responded: "It's no surprise that we are seen as a competitive threat to many of the existing sites that we have in the UK.

"Over the course of the last three years we have met with senior management of 11 of the 17 circuit owners, many of whom have input into our business plan and several operators who have expressed interest in providing services to the circuit."

Palmer is also Chief Executive of MSV, which owns and operates the Brands Hatch, Oulton Park, Snetterton and Cadwell Park circuits, as well as holding the commercial rights to BSB.