The owners of Silverstone Circuit have signed a £32million deal which secures the future of the world famous venue and could create up 6,000 jobs.
Advertiser and Review motorsport correspondent James Beckett believes the deal could be the biggest in the circuit’s history and will allow owner, the British Racing Drivers’ Club, to concentrate on supporting grassroot motorsport.
On Wednesday, the BRDC announced it had agreed a 999-year lease to commercial property firm MEPC, owned by the BT Pension scheme.
The deal will allow MEPC to forge ahead with a masterplan of development which already has planning approval and includes several hotels, conference facilities, industrial units and outdoor arenas.
Mr Beckett said: “For the first time since the BRDC took control, it will be able to look after the interests of motorsport rather than developing land to support the circuit. It has another company to do that now and it can revert back to what it does best as a racing club.”
Councillor Dermot Bambridge, South Northants Council’s member for Silverstone said: “I’m delighted the circuit has managed to find a robust partner to help it achieve its goals and dreams.
“But the job numbers have been treated by many with scepticism. It’s impossible to work out where so many jobs could come from.”
BRDC chairman Stuart Rolt said they had been looking for a partner to develop the track for years and added: “Over three years the board has given consideration to a number of offers fand we are delighted to have reached an agreement with MEPC, which was selected on the grounds of its financial standing, reputation, the quality of developments it has undertaken – and continues to own – and the price it was prepared to pay.”
Rick de Blaby, chief executive officer of MEPC, applauded the BRDC for having planning permission in place and added: “It is now MEPC’s wish to see that vision materialise in all its forms and we are incredibly excited about investing in a number of the specific projects we have already identified for the next 24 months, albeit the on-going development of Silverstone could be a 10-year project.”
The agreement with MEPC does not include the development or management of the race circuit itself but the BRDC has confirmed it has agreed terms with a partner to further develop and invest in the circuit and circuit-related facilities, with negotiations set for completion before the club’s AGM on October 4.
n For more information, visit www.MEPC.com