Dorset

Clay Pigeon Raceway: Holiday park plan for go-kart circuit

Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton both raced at Clay Pigeon, according to its owners

A karting track in Dorset, where Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button began their careers, could be cleared to make way for a holiday park.

Clay Pigeon Raceway, next to the George Albert Hotel near Dorchester, forms part of an 18.6 hectare (46 acre) site earmarked for 180 holiday lodges.

The track's managers said a third party had made a "speculative" planning bid.

They said karting and other businesses on the site would continue operating until the planning process concluded.

According to owner Southern Counties Leisure, the circuit is where Lewis Hamilton won his first race and was also Jenson Button's home circuit while growing up in Frome, Somerset.

The raceway, founded in the late 1950s, was built on a disused World War Two military hospital and, according to its website, has hosted nearly every major championship to tour Britain.

In its planning application, agent Lambe Planning and Design said the scheme would create nearly 80 jobs.

The scheme includes 180 two and three-bedroom, five-star lodges, along with staff accommodation and parking for more than 320 cars, alongside the existing hotel on the A37 at Wardon Hill.

Clay Pigeon's directors - Barry and Michelle Crook and Ian Rennison - said the circuit's owners had invested heavily in the venue and were still investing in and promoting race meetings.

A statement said: "We would like to inform all that this is a speculative third-party planning application which at this present and foreseeable future does not change the use of Clay Pigeon Raceway as a national karting sporting venue."

The change of use application is expected to be decided by a planning officer at Dorset Council, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

Image copyright LDRS
Image caption Many British Formula 1 drivers began their racing careers on karting circuits

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