The Circuit of Wales project has suffered a fatal blow to its funding plan after the Welsh Government turned down a ?210m public funding submission for the proposed Ebbw Vale circuit.

After submitting a revised funding plan last February asking for around half of the cost to be underwritten by the Welsh Government, having had a previous 80% underwritten bid rejected last year, the new plan has also been declined.

In a Welsh Government cabinet meeting held this morning, an automotive business park is said to be built instead of the Circuit of Wales project, which holds the rights to host the British round of MotoGP.

The Welsh Government is reported to have already spent almost ?10m in public money to develop the proposal, which had been estimated to create 6,000 jobs and attract up to 750,000 visitors per year in order to inject ?45m into the local economy each year. Figures the government has now disputed.

In January 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.

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

But the plans look set to be formally shelved after the Welsh Audit Office reported significant shortcomings in the plan and projected jobs created to be much lower than the quoted 6,000 figure - quoting only 100 full-time jobs.

The critical block to the funding plan comes from the local government budget, with Economy Secretary Ken Skates stating the required public money would hurt its entire budget.

"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," Skates said.

The project leaders - the Heads of the Valleys Development Company - is yet to confirm its next move.

The venture secured a deal with Dorna to host the British MotoGP from 2015, but the lack of progress meant a deal was then reached between CoW and Silverstone.

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, with an option in place for 2018.

The MotoGP deal in place for the Circuit of Wales is for five-years, with the option of a further five-year extension, which began in 2015.

 

Comments

Loading Comments...