South East Wales

Ebbw Vale 'jobs risk' in Circuit of Wales land row

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Media captionThomas Waste Management processes more than 65,000 tonnes of waste each year

A firm says jobs are at risk after its bid to buy land was scuppered in case the site is regenerated as part of the Circuit of Wales project.

Thomas Waste Management's bid to buy land on Waun-Y-Pound industrial estate near Ebbw Vale was blocked in 2013.

Now, the firm says its current site is too small and road works in the area mean it is not making a profit.

Blaenau Gwent council said the sale could be "detrimental" to regeneration if the £425m race track was built.

The company, based in nearby Brynmawr, said some of its 63 staff would have to go if it could not find a new location.

Its base is close to the A465 Heads of the Valleys road, which is being upgraded to a dual carriageway with several diversions in place.

Gareth Thomas said the company tried to avoid the delays and extra costs associated with the road works by moving the business to the industrial estate, having agreed a price with council officials.

But Blaenau Gwent councillors voted against the advice of officials in 2013 when they refused to sell the land, saying it could have a "detrimental impact on any future regeneration plans that may arise as part of the Circuit of Wales project".

The site was previously offered up by the council as a potential site for the waste industry before the racetrack project was officially announced in 2011.

BBC Wales understands the Circuit of Wales has never had plans to build any part of the project on land at Waun-Y-Pound industrial estate.

Mr Thomas said: "We can't sustain it any more - give us until April or May and we'll have to be looking at restructuring the business.

"Loss of jobs, that'll be. We've got no option. We don't want to see losses, we've all got families, we're a family ourselves."

Haydn Trollope, the council's executive member for environment, said the authority had spoken to the firm to identify suitable sites for expansion.

He added: "The council understands that restrictions at the company's current site and continuing works during the dualling of the Heads of the Valleys road are limiting its plans for expansion and development, and together with Welsh Government has worked with the company to mitigate the current position and secure a sustainable future to meet its aspirations."

Ben Cottam, from the Federation of Small Businesses in Wales, said: "I think businesses will be frustrated - they've waited a long time for something to happen one way or another and still there's no sign as to whether this development going to take place."

Image copyright Heads of the Valleys Corp

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