Brands Hatch Deal in Danger
Gledhill, Dan, The Independent (London, England)
A GROUP of conservationists is threatening to throw a spanner in the works of the pounds 120m takeover of Brands Hatch, the leisure group that owns the eponymous motor racing circuit in Kent.
The Woodland Trust has teamed up with the Forestry Commission and the Council for the Protection of Rural England to oppose a plan to bulldoze 37 acres of ancient woodland inside the track.
The plan by Brands Hatch, which has agreed a pounds 120m bid from US marketing group Interpublic, is part of its campaign to redevelop the circuit in time for 2002, when it is due to begin hosting the British Grand Prix.
Failure to redevelop the track sufficiently could mean that the lucrative race stays at its current home of Silverstone, where it has been since Brands Hatch last hosted the Grand Prix in 1981.
Conservationists argue that the woodland includes endangered flora and fauna.
"Sooner or later we have to draw a line in the sand," said Mike Townsend, chief executive of the Woodland Trust. …