by Julie Gates/motorsport.com In its bid to secure the British Grand Prix, Brands Hatch jumped another major hurdle on Monday when the Sevenoaks District Council accepted its planning permission application. The four-hour meeting saw the...
by Julie Gates/motorsport.com
In its bid to secure the British Grand Prix, Brands Hatch jumped another major hurdle on Monday when the Sevenoaks District Council accepted its planning permission application.
The four-hour meeting saw the plans being given the green light with a vote of twelve to six to allow Brands Hatch Leisure to modify their circuit with a £20m refurbishment plan. Work needed would be to bring its current track layout up to F1's standard, as well as building a new pit area, complete with media centre and several new grandstands. However, before building can commence, the proposals must also be given the green light by the Secretary of State for the Environment, John Prescott, because it is on greenbelt land.
Those against the grand prix moving to the Kent circuit state the development of the race would take much more traffic to the area, as well a increased noise levels and the destruction of ancient woodland. Nonetheless, BHL states that there will be more days that the track will have no activity at all.
The proponent of BHL's application, Councillor Edward Quaife, states that the area of Brands Hatch is greenbelt, but that the British Grand Prix is such an infamous event that it can only have a positive effect on the surrounding areas.
"Yes, Brands Hatch is in a green belt, but its very presence is a special circumstance. The British Grand Prix is an event we should all be proud to have here once again.
"In return for three days of Formula 1, we as a council have increased control for the rest of the year. We can learn from our past problems and take a proactive and positive stance. And with the expected turnover from Formula 1, BHL will have more than enough money to honour its commitments."
In turn, the Chief Executive of BHL, Rob Bain, said: "This is an historic day for British motorsport and for the people of Sevenoaks and Kent. We are not surprised that the Secretary of State has shown an interest in our proposals. We feel sure that he will take into full consideration the extensive public consultation we undertook and the huge benefits that will come to Britain, Kent and Sevenoaks in making his decision."
However, major F1 teams have stressed that there may be up to - and more than - 60 days testing required, but the District Council has said that under no terms will the limit of 60 days be exceeded under terms of the agreement.
This has all been part of a long battle between the BRDC and BHL, who have been squabbling it out for the British Grand Prix. BHL has the rights of the race from 2002 and can choose to run the race from whatever track they please. If it happens to remain at Silverstone, it will cost the Northamptonshire circuit a colossal amount of money to stage the event.
Many have been against the British Grand Prix moving to Brands, dubbing Silverstone the home of British motorsport. Indeed, all England-based teams are all closely situated to the track, particularly Jordan, BAR and Jaguar.
If, despite many peoples' objections, the race does move to Brands, the circuit is concocting anti-noise schemes, including a noise-retaining wall to be built around the GP loop, as well as offering to install triple-glazing to those properties closest to the track. A decision is expected within the next month.