Heads of the Valleys Development Company has welcomed the Welsh Government’s confirmation that it is advancing with due diligence and documentation.
The announcement, in the Senedd Chamber on 8 February 2017, by Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure, Ken Skates, was followed by universal support for the Circuit of Wales project from opposition party representatives.
Mr. Skates confirmed that The Heads of the Valleys Development Company had submitted a business plan and investor term sheets demonstrating private sector funding support for the project – and had also met his request for limiting a Government guarantee to 50 per cent of the capital cost
The Heads of the Valleys Development Company is now hoping to start construction this spring after the Welsh Government said it will now move to the due diligence and final documentation process.
The Cabinet Secretary told Assembly Members that the due diligence process, which will be undertaken by external consultants, will “take place and be completed in approximately four to six weeks”, which, he added, “is a normal time frame for a project of this scale”. The Cabinet Secretary emphasised that in its due diligence, the Welsh Government would “follow the process that is normal for a project of this scale”.
In response to The Cabinet Secretary’s comments in the Chamber, Adam Price, Plaid Cymru Assembly Member for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, stated Plaid Cymru’s support for The Circuit of Wales, noting that the party “believes that [The Circuit of Wales] has huge potential for the communities of Blaenau Gwent, for the wider south Wales Valleys and, indeed, Wales as a whole, and we will be very pleased to support the project moving forward.”
Neil Hamilton, UKIP Assembly Member for Mid and West Wales, and Leader of UKIP in the Welsh Assembly, also expressed strong support for the project, noting that The Circuit of Wales has the potential to “completely transform the economy of Wales”.
Conservative spokesman Nick Ramsay spoke in support of the project and asked how quickly “would the Government be in a position to give the green light to this project, as long as the due diligence checks out? Because I understand that the private finance involved is of a type that can be fluid, and given that you now feel that this part of the deal has been met, it would be sad if this project was lost as a result of unnecessary delays from this moment on”.
Mr. Skates explained: “We expect it to take place and be completed in approximately four to six weeks, which is a normal time frame for a project of this scale, upon which Cabinet will then be able to consider it.”
Martin Whitaker, CEO of The Circuit of Wales said:
“We welcome the Cabinet Secretary’s comments in the Welsh Assembly yesterday, which are the result of seven months of cooperation and weekly meetings with his officials.
“We are now moving forward to the confirmatory due diligence and final documentation stage with the Welsh Government and our partners.
“We also thank Assembly Members for the enthusiastic cross-party support that The Circuit of Wales has earned within the Senedd.
“I know I speak for all concerned when I say it is a very exciting prospect to be working to a proactive timetable that will enable construction in Spring of this year, a process that will begin the creation of sustainable employment opportunities for local people and providing a transformational boost to Blaenau Gwent and the Welsh economy.”
The full transcript of the Cabinet Secretary’s comments can be viewed on the Welsh Assembly website: http://www.assembly.wales/en/bus-home/pages/rop.aspx?meetingid=4082&assembly=5&c=Record%20of%20Proceedings