Lake Torrent track hits planning snag
“EVERYONE NEEDS TO WORK TOGETHER TO SEIZE THIS OPPORTUNITY”
The future of the proposed £29million Lake Torrent circuit in Northern Ireland has been thrown into major doubt after the developer behind the project went into receivership last week.
Some initial groundwork on the circuit, located 40 minutes’ drive from Belfast and planned for completion by the end of 2019, was carried out last year but progress then began to stall. The delays were caused by a planning issue regarding the possibility of old mineshafts being on the site, which was formerly a quarry.
Matters came to a head last week when backers of the project refused to provide promised funds until the planning issue is resolved. That led to Manna Developments – the firm behind the circuit – entering receivership.
In a statement, Manna said: “While this is a disappointing development, it has not come as a surprise. Funding remains in place to deliver Lake Torrent but, as is the case with any loan, there are conditions which relate to the release of funds.
“Unfortunately the challenges in resolving one particular planning issue have been such that it hasn’t been possible to fulfil the relevant conditions. Our funding partner is aware of the status of the planning, but remains committed to making the funds available.
“The MP for the area is entirely aware of the planning condition, which has caused such delay, and has been working diligently to try and bring a resolution for the benefit of Manna Developments, Lake Torrent and the people of Northern Ireland, not least those in his constituency. Like us, he is hopeful that matters can be resolved quickly. Everyone needs to work together to seize this once-in-alifetime opportunity to really further enhance Northern Ireland’s reputation on the global motorsport stage.”
Ben Willshire, managing director of Driven International – the firm that designed the circuit’s layout – added: “On our side we were waiting for an update from Manna Developments. We’ve prepared all the drawings for the FIA and FIM, but weren’t actively working on the project and were waiting on the next steps. We’ve done all we can to help and it’s a shame because I think the project has got huge potential.”
The circuit had signed a three-year contract to host a round of World Superbikes, but the series will instead visit Donington Park next year.
Lake Torrent circuit has hit money problems