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Donington planning permission at risk

NEWS STORY
25/04/2009

Just when you thought that things couldn't get much worse for Donington the circuit gets another blow. And they don't come much bigger than the latest one.

According to local press in Leicestershire, where the circuit is located, Donington boss Simon Gillett has yet to sign the planning permission agreements which give him authority to make the necessary modifications to host the British Grand Prix next year.

Planning permission was granted in January but it was dependant on Gillett signing a section 106 agreement. This is a guarantee that a transport management plan will be prepared before every major event at the track, and that construction traffic should not pass through nearby villages. However, despite construction beginning a few months ago, the agreement remains unsigned and the council is not happy to say the least.

On May 5th, just over week from now, the council will review its planning decision and, according to the local press, officers will recommend that councillors refuse planning permission if the agreement stays unsigned by the end of the month.

Council leader Councillor Richard Blunt is reported to have said that "the council has already extended the deadline for signing the agreement by another month, allowing four months in total. It has continued to work with Donington Park to meet the deadlines and terms of the permission. We can't keep extending the deadline for signing the agreement. Donington Park has already started construction and to allow further, unchecked construction to take place may make the original planning permission invalid."

Blunt added that "we are disappointed that, despite making every effort to accommodate Donington Park, the council has had to take this action. We must have a consistent approach to the planning process and this application is being handled in the same way as any other development."

This blow to Donington follows news which emerged on Thursday that the circuit's ultimate owner, the Wheatcroft family, is suing Gillett's business for 2.5m in unpaid rent. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Gillett was not available for comment to the local press over the latest news. He must have his hands full planning a way to resolve the many difficulties Donington is facing. Time will tell whether he can pull it off.

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