Re­vised fi­nan­cial plan sub­mit­ted that could clear devel­op­ment to be­gin this year

Motor Sport News - - Racing News - By Jack Benyon

Cir­cuit of Wales bosses have sub­mit­ted a new fund­ing pro­posal to the Welsh Gov­ern­ment that could lead to con­struc­tion of the cir­cuit start­ing later this year.

The project, first un­veiled in 2011, se­cured per­mis­sion to pur­chase land in Ebbw Vale in the Blae­nau Gwent county in Novem­ber 2015, but re­ceived a ma­jor set­back last April when the Welsh Gov­ern­ment con­firmed it would not un­der­write con­struc­tion.

Cir­cuit of Wales had signed a five-year deal to host the Bri­tish Mo­togp round be­tween 2015 and 2019, but the event is cur­rently be­ing held at Sil­ver­stone.

In July 2016, Welsh Assem­bly Mem­ber and Cab­i­net Sec­re­tary for Econ­omy and In­fra­struc­ture Ken Skates clar­i­fied that for the Welsh gov­ern­ment to con­sider help­ing fund the project, Cir­cuit of Wales needed to se­cure pri­vate sec­tor fund­ing for 50 per cent of the project, tak­ing on 50 per cent of the risk.

In a state­ment re­leased last Wed­nes­day, Skates said that the Heads of the Val­leys Devel­op­ment Com­pany – which is re­spon­si­ble for build­ing the cir­cuit – had sub­mit­ted a new deal that “in­cludes the names of the pri­vate in­vestors and which they as­sert meets the cri­te­ria I set out in July”.

Skates had “chal­lenged the Cir­cuit of Wales team to make faster progress with the pro­pos­als and to pro­vide me with the names of pri­vate sec­tor in­vestors to the project within two weeks” late last month, “mind­ful of the time that had passed”.

The Welsh Gov­ern­ment will now con­duct due dili­gence and eval­u­ate the new pro­posal be­fore it gives the cir­cuit the green light.

Skates’ state­ment con­tin­ued: “The due dili­gence ex­er­cise will in­clude rig­or­ous value for money test­ing and a Fit and Proper Per­son as­sess­ment of the di­rec­tors. It will also as­sess de­liv­er­abil­ity and the long-term sus­tain­abil­ity of the pro­posal. We will seek clar­ity on the types and num­ber of jobs di­rectly and in­di­rectly re­sult­ing from the project; how those job num­bers com­pare to the ini­tially re­ported fig­ure of 6,000, as well as the likely num­ber of jobs that would be filled by lo­cal peo­ple.”

The project ini­tially re­ceived £2m as a grant from the Welsh Gov­ern­ment, with sub­se­quent ef­forts to se­cure ad­di­tional con­tri­bu­tions turned down. The Cir­cuit of Wales also is­sued a state­ment last week con­firm­ing that its new pro­posal meets the cri­te­ria set out by the Welsh Gov­ern­ment.

“The sub­mis­sion, de­vel­oped with his of­fi­cials over the past seven months, com­plies with [Skates’] stated cri­te­ria and demon­strates pri­vate sec­tor fund­ing sup­port for the project,” the state­ment read in part.

“This ev­i­dence has been pro­vided to the Cab­i­net Sec­re­tary to sup­port the Welsh Gov­ern­ment guar­an­tee for a mi­nor­ity of the fund­ing for the project.

“The guar­an­tee would be for less than 50 per cent of the £425m Cir­cuit of Wales scheme, a devel­op­ment that will be en­tirely funded by pri­vate in­vestors in the project.

“We are now pre­par­ing to move to the con­fir­ma­tory due dili­gence and fi­nal doc­u­men­ta­tion process with the Welsh Gov­ern­ment and our part­ners.

“We are work­ing to a proac­tive time­line and look for­ward to be­gin­ning con­struc­tion by the spring of this year, bring­ing to life our vi­sion of a world-class hub for mo­tor­sport, leisure, tourism and in­no­va­tion, which will be trans­for­ma­tional for the lo­cal com­mu­nity, gen­er­at­ing em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties; and help­ing to both stim­u­late and di­ver­sify the Welsh econ­omy.”

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