We blast motorsports development on common land

12 March 2013

We objected strongly to a planning application for a major motor-racing development on registered common land.  The so-called Circuit of Wales would be on the edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park, north of Ebbw Vale.

The Heads of the Valleys Development Company wants to build a 3.5-mile long racetrack, 4×4 circuit, international kart track and motocross track.  In addition there would be a mass of buildings—grandstands, showrooms, clubhouse, hotel, petrol station and much else, amounting to a small town.  The application is now with Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council’s planning department.

The whole development is on registered common land—Trefil Las and Twyn Bryn-March—and its effect will be devastating.  The public has the right to walk and ride over these commons.  People’s peaceful enjoyment of this lovely open space, with its extensive views, will be wrecked.

It is stated on the Circuit of Wales website that: ‘planning permission is the final hurdle’.  ‘That’s not true,’ says Kate Ashbrook, our general secretary.  ‘Even if they get planning permission they cannot just charge in and tear up common land.  They will need to find suitable land to offer in exchange and to obtain the consent of the Minister for Environment and Sustainable Development for the exchange.  It’s hard to see how they can find an extensive area of comparable land to make into a common.

‘The development abuts the boundary of the Brecon Beacons National Park, which recently won the accolade of International Dark Sky Reserve.  It will be hard for the park to maintain that status with an artificially-lit motor circuit on its doorstep.’

We have urged Blaenau Gwent council to give full consideration to the devastating effect this development would have on Wales’s unique countryside and common land and to refuse the application