Go-ahead for £10m Snetterton project

Ian Clarke A £10m plan to bring back the glory days to the Snetterton motor racing circuit has been supported by councillors and hailed as “the most exciting thing to ever happen to it.”

Ian Clarke

A £15m plan to bring back the glory days to the Snetterton motor racing circuit was today supported by councillors and hailed as “the most exciting thing to ever happen to it.”

Circuit owner MotorSport Vision is headed by Jonathan Palmer, who passionately described to Breckland councillors his 30-year association with Snetterton and his dream of turning it into a world class venue.

Mr Palmer raced at the Jim Russell school and then did testing for the Van Diemen team and Lotus Formula One cars before his company bought Snetterton in 2004.

The ambitious plans approved by Breckland include extending the circuit plus a new 50-bedroom hotel, conference centre, racing school and a 12.5 ha business park with retail showrooms, offices, industrial units and race team units for the advanced engineering and motorsport sectors.

Up to 500 new jobs could be created.

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Mr Palmer said when MSV took over at Snetterton it was “very shabby” and the company had “transformed it to universal acclaim.”

Mr Palmer said he was “absolutely thrilled” at the approval for the scheme.

“This is an outstanding opportunity to boost Snetterton and East Anglia. This is the most exciting thing that has ever happened to Snetterton. It was a hub in the country in the 1960s and 70s and we can bring the buzz back to the area and not impact on the local community.”

The scheme had been deferred in July to allow more discussions over measures to control noise at the circuit.

More than 100 letters were sent to Breckland with concerns about the impact them of noise.

A noise management plans has been produced and the company has pledged a bund to reduce noise and there will also be limits on the types of races at the circuit.

Mr Palmer said MSV “fully appreciated” the importance of working with the local community to minimise noise and he was confident the measures put in place would do that.

Bidwells co-ordinated the pre-application consultation and senior associate Ray Houghton said: “The approval represents a great opportunity for Snetterton and could realise an investment upwards of £15m in the area providing up to 500 jobs and will help re-establish the level of motor sport expertise with which the region has become synonymous.”

Breckland Council's head of economic development Mark Stanton said the Snetterton scheme was a “crucial part” of growth along the A11.

Laurence Moses, of Eccles, has lived in his home for 30 years and said the noise started being a problem in October 2005 and described it as “unacceptable.”

“We are almost at the end of our tether. Some days you cannot hear it and on other occasions it penetrates every room in the house.”

Local councillor Stephen Askew said residents were suffering “on an almost daily basis.”

Planning conditions are being imposed to restrict the track's retail units to the sale of motorsport related goods, including high performance cars and motorcycles.

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