We are delighted that the Planning Inspectorate has called a public inquiry into plans by the Heads of the Valley Development Company Ltd to develop common land at Rassau, Blaenau Gwent. These works are proposed ahead of the prospective Circuit of Wales motor-racing development itself. The company has applied to the Welsh ministers for consent to carry out major works on the common.
The public inquiry is scheduled for 24 June and will last for four days.
If the Circuit of Wales development is to go ahead, the company will need the ministers’ consent to deregister about 340 hectares of common land and to give suitable land in exchange. The company has not yet submitted this application and so the future of the motorsports development remains uncertain.
But regardless of this, the company is seeking consent for haul roads, trenches and drains, stockpiles of excavated material and a mass of fencing on 250 hectares of the common. The company claims that if the Circuit of Wales does not go ahead it can remove the works and restore the common.
We objected most strongly to this ugly and intrusive development on a substantial area of common land. We are pleased that, in the light of the objections, the Planning Inspectorate has resolved that there should be a public inquiry.
We consider it is premature to start digging up the common until Welsh Ministers have decided whether the scheme can go ahead. We are encouraged that the current works will be subject to independent scrutiny.