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SBD Global/March 27, 2014/Facilities

Circuit Of Wales Developers Hit Back At Controversial Silverstone Claims

Developers bidding to build a £280M ($463M) racetrack in South Wales "have hit back at controversial claims that they could receive 'illegal' state subsidies," according to Kevin Eason of the LONDON TIMES. Michael Carrick, CEO of the Heads of the Valleys Company behind the vast project to create 6,000 jobs in Blaenau Gwent, "moved to answer complaints made in a letter from Silverstone to Prime Minister David Cameron that the Circuit of Wales would have an unfair financial advantage." Carrick: “We are disappointed to have heard of the content of this letter. It sounds like Silverstone is resistant to investment within the automotive sector, which is vital to its continued growth and development in the U.K. The suggestion of illegal state aid made by Silverstone also highlights they do not understand the basic process of applying for state funding of this nature.” The Circuit of Wales has asked for £30M ($49.7M) and "should qualify because Blaenau Gwent is an assisted economic area." The discontent between Silverstone and the Circuit of Wales "is rapidly turning into an acrimonious row." Work has not yet started on the 850-acre site outside Ebbw Vale, but the developers "have been fighting a rearguard action against bitter criticism that the Circuit of Wales will snatch events from the rest of the UK’s 18 racetracks." Developers "want to cash in on Britain’s leadership in the motorsport industry," worth an estimated £9B ($14.9B) to the economy. Carrick said that South Wales "can offer a regenerated hub around the vast Circuit of Wales, which will sit on land on the edge of the picturesque Brecon Beacons." There "could also be links to major motor manufacturers, such as Ford and Toyota, who have bases in Wales" (LONDON TIMES, 3/26).
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