South East Wales

Planning inquiry to rule on Circuit of Wales in Ebbw Vale

Artist impression of circuit Image copyright Heads of the Valleys Development Company
Image caption The £280m racetrack would be built near Ebbw Vale and include hotels and a grandstand

A public inquiry will decide whether a planned £280m racing circuit can go ahead in Blaenau Gwent county borough.

Opponents have welcomed the news a planning inspector will decide the fate of the Circuit of Wales in Ebbw Vale.

Heads of the Valleys Development Company says it plans will create jobs and bring 750,000 visitors a year to the area.

They are said to be asking the Welsh and UK governments to commit up to £50m towards the project.

Last month it emerged Silverstone racetrack bosses have asked Prime Minister David Cameron to prevent state aid being used.

The Welsh government confirmed a planning inquiry would be held in June.

'Independent scrutiny'

A spokesperson for the Heads of the Valleys Development Company has been asked to comment.

Its plans promise to transform one of Wales' most deprived communities.

Alongside the racing circuit, there are plans for hotels, a grandstand, a technology park and a solar park.

But those projects all rely on the racetrack going ahead.

Conservation group the Open Spaces Society calls the plans "extensive and ugly".

General secretary Kate Ashbrook said she was "delighted that the application will be subject to independent scrutiny".

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