A £300,000 investment in Silverstone circuit has been approved by the leading members of Northants County Council,
On Tuesday NCC cabinet members approved the investment which will be spent on the construction of the Silverstone Wing, a new pit and paddock complex and a major conference centre.
An NCC officers report said the funding will help deliver the conference centre, which will create 21 new jobs and bring in an estimated £13.4 million to the county.
The council’s cabinet member for finance, Councillor Bill Parker said: “This money will help deliver new jobs and I think we should all be supportive of Silverstone, so I’m delighted we’re able to do this.
“It will improve Northamptonshire’s economy as a whole.”
But the deputy leader of the Liberal Democrat opposition party, cllr Chris Stanbra argued the council should invest in other priorities, especially at a time when funding was being taken away from rural bus subsidies and lollipop crossings.
He said: “Should the county council really be investing £300,000 in Silverstone and would anything down there really stop if we didn’t? I would suggest the money could perhaps be better spent elsewhere.
“If we didn’t invest this money, I’m sure Silverstone would find it elsewhere.”
Despite the opposition’s concerns, the council’s cabinet voted unanimously to back the funding plan.
Ben Smith, NCC cabinet member and representative for Greens Norton’s said: “There really are good opportunities to develop Silverstone for the good of the whole county and I think it’s very good that we’re investing.”
The £300,000 investment is part of a five-year council plan to invest £1.5 million in the track.
In reaction to the decision Dermot Bambridge, South Northants Council’s member for Silverstone said: “It is important that Silverstone is able to complete its plans in time and meet the requirements needed to bring the circuit up to the highest possible standard. It is a shame that in the past central Government has failed to support the circuit as requested. But we hope now a corner has been turned and a new look Silverstone will go from success to success.
“Also I hope that the county council will soon see a returned on its investment to help itself in other areas.”
Last year, the council also agreed to loan the circuit £10 million to help with the construction of the Wing and also received a £26 millon investment from Lloyds TSB.