Silverstone has scored a quiet coup while all eyes have been trained on its rival, Donington Park, and has negotiated the go-ahead for its own redevelopment.
The Northamptonshire racing circuit expects to start work in the New Year after dropping a controversial aspect of its scheme that had proved a to be sticking point for residents and planners.
The British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC) had argued that a housing development in Silverstone village was necessary to fund its new pit and paddock complex.
South Northamptonshire District Council, one of two planning authorities that must agree to the proposals, responded by saying the BRDC must demonstrate that this development was the only possible way of securing the cash it needed.
Now that the pressure of contract negotiations with Bernie Ecclestone’s Formula One Management Ltd has vanished, the circuit has agreed to drop the housing plan, and will undertake a phased redevelopment of the pit and paddock complex.
As a result its development brief, which had already been agreed in principle, is set to be fully adopted. Aylesbury Vale District Council, the other planning authority involved, had already accepted the plan.
In addition to improved circuit facilities the brief includes a university campus, a business park, a manufacturer test centre, an extreme sports and leisure complex, hotels and restaurants and a welcome centre with a museum.
The council says that the plan should mean “Silverstone can continue to be one of the world’s leading motorsport venues and the foremost centre for research and skills development.
“It will also bring a range of facilities and services of benefit to local communities, and cement Silverstone’s position as the home of British motor racing.”
Richard Phillips, Managing Director of Silverstone Circuits Ltd said: “We have listened closely to the local community and decided that removing the houses proposed in the Development Brief was the best way forward for the project.
“Overcoming this hurdle now allows us to press ahead with our plans for developing Silverstone into a world-leading motor sport venue. We expect to be starting work on new facilities early in the New Year.
“We would like to thank Aylesbury Vale District Council and South Northamptonshire District Council for all the hard work they have put into securing the future of Silverstone. We are delighted that they are now fully in support of the Development Brief and we look forward to its final adoption.
“It is fair to say that there have been a number of challenges along the way, but we believe an appropriate balance has now been struck. We are on programme to be on site early next year and this will mark a new phase for motor sport in the UK.”