A planned state-of-the-art circuit in Wales has been given the green light after winning outline planning permission from the local Blaenau Gwent council.
As AUTOSPORT first revealed in August last year, the 'Circuit of Wales' is the central tenet of a £280m multipurpose redevelopment plan for the Ebbw Vale.
Renowned circuit design company Apex was charged with drawing up a draft layout of the planned 3.5-mile track (pictured).
Following the approval of outline planning permission, construction work on the circuit is intended to start at the end of this year, with a target of completion in 2015/16.
The construction of a hotel and commercial and retail complexes are also intended to be completed under the first phase of construction, while developers intend to also develop a low-carbon industry hub.
The track is intended to host international motorsport events, with developers already maintaining contact with MotoGP promoter Dorna.
"I am delighted by the decision today. The Circuit of Wales is a world-class development which will truly transform Blaenau Gwent and the local economy," Hedley McCarthy, leader of Blaenau Gwent council, said.
"It is a massive project to undertake but the benefits for us all are huge.
"There will be the creation of thousands of jobs when the circuit comes into operation plus the development of engineering, science and technology businesses.
"Building the Circuit of Wales will mean an extra £50m a year for the local area and transform Blaenau Gwent into a fantastic 'go to' destination for all motorsport and racing fans."
Carmelo Ezpeleta, Dorna's CEO, added: "It's fantastic. I think this is a very important programme for MotoGP and for motor sport in general.
"It is good for the area and good for the community, and the team behind it will have whatever help they need from us.
"We have already been working with them and we will continue to do so."
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