F1: Planners refuse to sink British GP
By LJ Hutchins
Wednesday, May 6th, 2009
Planners have given Donington Park two months to collect the necessary signatures to finalise its planning permission for F1-standard upgrades after deciding they could not pre-judge the outcome of a court case.
Councillors at North West Leicestershire’s planning committee last night heard a recommendation that they should not act until an outstanding legal action by circuit owners Wheatcroft & Son is settled.
The case is due to be heard at on June 8 at Derby County Court when the company will seek nearly £2.5 million in unpaid rent and the return of the lease from Donington Ventures Leisure Limited, the company headed by Simon Gillett.
Planners need the signatures of Gillett, his fellow leaseholders and the freeholder on a document that governs how construction will go ahead and also reportedly contains important specifications about spectator safety. The document is months overdue and those signatures have not so far been forthcoming.
The final deadline for the planning agreement to be signed is now June 30, three weeks after that date, in time for the next scheduled planning meeting on July 7.
Minutes of the meeting will be made available on this page – scroll down until you find ‘planning committee’ and click on the link for May 5.
After the hearing, Gillett insisted that Donington Park will be able to host the 2010 race on the following grounds:
- The Wheatcroft family “remains supportive” and that the dispute will be resolved very soon. He said that the legal action had not put the race in jeopardy.
- Work to source alternative funding for the circuit’s debenture scheme following the pull-out of a bank “remains positive” and will offer “answers… very soon.”
- Construction will take nine months and will happen on schedule as long as financing is in place by July.
He added: “We have our little trials and tribulations at the moment, but we’re still going to make sure the Grand Prix is coming to Donington next year.
“Headlines are always headlines. There’s a lot going on in the background that we can’t go into at the moment, but that gives us confidence because we know what’s going on behind the scenes.”
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