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SBD Global/March 25, 2014/Facilities

Silverstone Racetrack Managing Dir Writes To U.K. PM Discouraging Circuit Of Wales Funding

Silverstone racetrack bosses have asked British PM David Cameron to "prevent tens of millions of pounds of potentially 'illegal' state aid being used" for a new £280M ($461.7M) Circuit of Wales, according to the BBC. Developers behind the Circuit of Wales scheme in Ebbw Vale, Blaenau Gwent, are "said to be asking" the Welsh and U.K. governments to commit up to £50M ($82.5M). Silverstone Managing Dir Richard Phillips has "written to the prime minister to intervene." The development "promises to transform one of Wales' most deprived communities." Alongside the racing circuit, "there are plans for hotels, a grandstand, a technology park and a solar park." Those projects, however, all "rely on the racetrack going ahead." The Circuit of Wales would host "all motor racing events except Formula 1" (BBC, 3/24). REUTERS' Alan Baldwin reported the "Heads of the Valleys Development Company" have said the project "hopes to create 6,000 jobs." Others have "criticized the scheme as a 'white elephant' that would not live up to its ambitious plans to regenerate a deprived region." Silverstone execs said that "their own application for help, when they had sought support to secure the future of the British F1 race," was denied "on the basis that this would be classed as illegal state aid" (REUTERS, 3/24). In London, Kevin Eason wrote "can the Circuit of Wales survive on this epic scale?" The projections and estimates "are convincing with the circuit as the centrepiece of a project to regenerate one of the poorest regions in the country" (LONDON TIMES, 3/24).
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