Circuit pushes forward with masterplan

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AS the media frenzy over the official opening of the new pit and paddock suite dies down, people living around the Silverstone Circuit are preparing to have their say on a much wider development.

This week, alongside F1 greats such as Nigel Mansell, Jenson Button and Sir Stirling Moss, the Duke of Kent gave a royal seal of approval to the quarter mile long pit and paddock suite. The Silverstone Wing was partly paid for by a £10 million loan from Northants County Council and helped secure a 17-year rights deal with F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, (see page 116 for a full report and for a video report).

And today a two day long public exhibition will begin at the Silverstone Church Rooms for people to have their say on a wider development of the circuit and the Silverstone Masterplan

As reported by the Advertiser previously the masterplan includes proposals for a technology park which could create up to 2,500 jobs, plus three hotels, a conference venue, and museum.

Improvements could also mean the development of the site as a venue for large scale music events, expanding on the concerts already held after each F1 Grand Prix.

At the time of last year’s investment in the pit and paddock, NCC also agreed a £1.5million investment over five years to help create jobs and encourage economic growth.

An economic impact assessment discussed by the NCC cabinet in March showed the circuit and other ventures on the site had created at least 77 new jobs over the last year. The original masterplan provoked controversy in 2009 when it included a housing development on the outskirts of the village which, once sold, would have helped pay for the wider development. After a concerted effort by residents that element of the plan was removed.

Steve Capewell, chairman of Silverstone Parish Council said the current masterplan suggests a new access from the A43, taking race traffic away from the village.

He said he and other parish councillors planned to be there at midday when the doors to the exhibition open and added: “I haven’t heard of anything that causes concern. And as far as the public money being invested, if it can produce that number of jobs I’d say it was very good.”