The Open Spaces Society has objected to plans by Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council to revive the ill-fated Circuit of Wales motorsport development. The council has applied for renewal of planning permission for the massive racing circuit, hotels, showrooms and other industrial development on common land at Rassau, Ebbw Vale.
Circuit of Wales – artist’s impression
We fought the proposals for exchange of the common land at a public inquiry in 2015. Now we have sent a robust objection to the new planning application, pointing out that the development would devastate a beautiful tranquil expanse of open country on the borders of the Brecon Beacons National Park.
We strongly object to the use of common land for this development. The public has the right to walk and ride over the whole area. The developers are required to offer suitable common land in exchange and this must be approved by ministers. The replacement land offered following the previous application was inadequate, inappropriate and derisory. Some of it was unsuitable for walkers and riders, and some of it was already being used for that purpose and therefore the public gained nothing.
The site borders on the Brecon Beacons National Park, designated because it is one of Wales’s top landscapes. The view of the circuit, and the noise from it, together with the lighting would denigrate the quality of the national park and people’s experience of it. The Brecon Beacons is the first International Dark-Sky Reserve in Wales, and that accolade will be severely threatened by the development.
This massive glamour project has been threatened for many years, but has not proceeded because of lack of funding. It is completely inappropriate in this wild and open location, and it is time it was dropped completely. We cannot understand why the local authority should now be promoting it, that is not the job of a local authority. We trust the council will reject the project and ensure that this attractive landscape can remain unspoilt for the inspiration and refreshment of all who visit it.