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Green light for Brands Hatch

BRANDS HATCH took another step towards regaining the British grand prix when Sevenoaks and District council affirmed their support for plans to upgrade the Kent circuit to current FIA safety standards at a meeting on Monday evening. However there are planning issues still to be resolved as part of the proposed circuit falls within a green belt area.

Brands Hatch has a five year contract to run the race from 2002 but insiders still believe that the estimated 30 million pound cost of uprating the circuit will not prove a viable proposition for the track's owners, the US-controlled Octagon leisure group.

The news of the decision by the local council has come as no surprise to the management at Silverstone which still believes it can retain the Grand Prix beyond 2002.

"It is absolutely what we expected," said Silverstone Circuits MD Denys Rohan. "But it involves building in (protected) "green belt" land and it is a local decision which in fact goes against Kent county's planning guidelines. In addition, we believe that the whole project to stage a Grand Prix at Brands Hatch is fundamentally flawed and that Octagon is ultimately a business which thrives on commercial commonsense."

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