Donington gets planning permission for track improvements

Donington Park has today received planning permission from North West Leicestershire District Council to proceed with revisions to its existing circuit. The circuit’s owner, Simon Gillett, plans to invest £100 million in new facilities for the racetrack, as well as extending and widening the circuit itself. Failure to receive planning permission today could have had seriously detrimental effects on the organisation’s intention of hosting the British Grand Prix in 2010.

“I am absolutely over the moon,” said Gillett. “It is a major coup. It is a culmination of six years’ hard work.”

Opposition to the granting of the planning permission was expected to come from environmentalists and local residents worried about noise levels, but an earlier report by neighbouring Derbyshire council concluded that the economic benefits to the region would far outweigh the concerns. See

Gillett has previously reassured fans of Donington’s existing layout that he is conscious of the sentimental importance of parts of the track, for example the Craner Curves and the Old Hairpin. An infield loop is reportedly being considered to extend the circuit, which has not held a Grand Prix since 1993. That year’s event was won in spectacular fashion in the rain by Ayrton Senna.

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