Posted: Thu 18th Apr 2024

Land earmarked for defunct Circuit of Wales project could become extension of Rassau Industrial Estate, council reveals /

LAND earmarked for the now defunct Circuit of Wales development in Ebbw Vale could become an extension of the Rassau Industrial Estate, a council chief has revealed.
At a meeting of Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council’s Place scrutiny committee on Tuesday, April 16, Independent county councillor Gareth Alban Davies asked for update on what was happening to land that had been set aside for the project.
Cllr Davies said: “Are we renting the land and is it of any cost to the authority.”
Committee chairman Labour’s Cllr Malcolm Cross said: “What’s happening, I get this question raised when I go on the Duke of Beaufort commoners association (meetings).
“The farmers are still trying to find out what’s going to happen.
“It’s a very complex area as we’re all aware.”
He agreed that the committee should be given a briefing on the “state of affairs” with the land.
Director of regenerations Ellie Fry told Cllr Davies that the council does not rent the land, but they are working to “agree an option” which would allow for future development of land there.
Ms Fry said: “It is the natural expansion area of the Rassau Industrial Estate.”
She explained that the land would need to be included in the next version of the council’s Local Development Plan (LDP).
This document provides a blueprint of where development for housing, employment should take place in Blaenau Gwent in the future.
Ms Fry said: “It will be seen as a development site in the LDP, and we have to go through the stages.
“However, how intensive a use we have of the site is all down to the peat and other things that are present.”
Peatlands are seen as vital in combating climate change as they capture, and store carbon gases and a restoration programme are underway in Wales.
Ms Fry said: “The site we have doesn’t have peat of the same grading as other areas, however we do know there are strong policies around that.”
She added that her department still has all the documentation and work that it did around the Circuit of Wales proposal and the council is working with the Duke of Beaufort’s estate on all options for the site.
Ms Fry said that she didn’t want to say that the site would be for a specific type of development as circumstances can change, but it was still seen as a “strategic site.”
Ms Fry said: “The work is about prepping the site and making sure if an opportunity comes up, we don’t miss it.”
The Circuit of Wales project was for a £425 million motor racing circuit and technology park development proposal on moorland on the outskirts of Ebbw Vale which first appeared in 2011.
The intention was that it would be funded by private investors and backed by the Welsh Government.
The circuit was designed with the aim of hosting events such as the MotoGP, Superbike World Championship, Motocross World Championship, British GT Championship, British Touring Car Championship, and the World Touring Car Championship.
In 2017 the then Labour business minister Ken Skates, with the backing of the Welsh Government cabinet, turned down a request by the company behind the project to underwrite a £210 million loan.
The project then fell apart. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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