The Circuit of Wales bosses have been handed a two-week deadline to submit funding plans to the Welsh Assembly, as confirmed by Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure Ken Skates.

Speaking at the Welsh Assembly, Skates is keen to receive information on the full funding plans behind the Circuit of Wales scheme and has written to the management company to give a two-week deadline.

"The people of Ebbw Vale deserve to know if this project is going to go ahead and crucially if so when," Skates said. "I am keen to avoid more opportunity costs associated with the project without a final date.

"Therefore I have written to the Heads of Valleys Development Company today asking them to make faster progress on this project and asking evidence to be provided to me of named investor term sheets within the next two weeks."

The Heads of Valleys Development Company will need to submit a new business plan outlining the funding partners and figures plus the commercial viability of the circuit.

Last year Skates, who took over the Welsh Assembly's involvement in the Circuit of Wales from Edwina Hart, rejected a revised plan submitted last July asking the government to provide an underwritten guarantee of 75% of the entire project cost and gave a new target of 50% - estimated to be around ?210 million - but the guarantee would only commence after the circuit construction is completed.

Circuit of Wales project leaders remain confident on raising the funding required having secured around ?100 million from London-based private banking firm Kleinwort Benson in October.

Earlier this month the project announced a new partnership with sports company Extreme to develop sport facilities, music venues and hotels on the circuit site but Extreme would not be injecting any additional funding to its business plan.

Circuit of Wales estimates it can provide 10,000 new jobs as a boost to the region's tourism and leisure industry while hoping to attract 750,000 visitors per year.

In December, Circuit of Wales reported it was close to finalising a new submission to the Welsh Assembly and the latest move is seen to speed up the process after the project has already been severely delayed.

The Circuit of Wales project is set to be financially backed by insurance giants Aviva who are potentially lined up to cover to new funding plan changes.

The venture secured a deal with Dorna to host the British MotoGP which began in 2015 and had originally hoped to move the event to Ebbw Vale in 2017. After interruptions in confirming financial backing MotoGP has been delayed by 12 months, with the Welsh circuit expected to take over hosting duties in 2019.

Silverstone has hosted the first two years of the British MotoGP contract the Circuit of Wales holds and will be called upon again for the 2017 race.



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