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Lydden Hill Race Circuit in Wootton has £6 million expansion plan

By Sam Lennon

A motor racing circuit is planning the biggest expansion in its six-decade history.

Lydden Hill Race Circuit, at Wootton, is working on a £6 million investment, which will include a new grandstand with offices and a restaurant.

It will also provide units for start-up businesses and change its road layout to provide easier access to and from the busy A2.

The planned new grandstand at Lydden Hill Race Circuit. Picture courtesy of Alexander Sedgley architects
The planned new grandstand at Lydden Hill Race Circuit. Picture courtesy of Alexander Sedgley architects

Managers also want to double the amount of days it is open to the public from the present 52 a year.

Adam Limbrey, business manager, said: “We are planning the biggest expansion since we opened in the 1950s.

“We also want it to be as small centre of excellence, for the motor industry particularly motor sports.”

Part of the new development is earmarked for high-tech business units that will be offered to local businesses as well as companies wishing to relocate.

Additionally some will be used to help new start-ups as part of a planned business incubation programme.

There would also be a paddock for the parking of racing cars.

The expanded facilities would also allow for corporate days and vehicle manufacturers’ launches.

There are plans to open up the circuit at weekdays for events such as leisure and racing cycling.

There would also be provision for commercial TV filming, motorcycle safety courses and young driver training.

LHRC only trades 52 days a year and managers are seeking council permission to open for at least double that.

The improved facilities would also reduce potential noise pollution for neighbours.

Adam Limbrey, business manager at Lydden Hill Race Circuit
Adam Limbrey, business manager at Lydden Hill Race Circuit

Mr Limbrey said: “Our plans would create 60 full-time jobs But we also want to benefit businesses through our events such as hotels in the Dover and Canterbury areas.”

A planning application has now been put in to Dover District Council and if all necessary permission is given the revamped centre would be opened in summer 2019 at the earliest.

Lydden Hill Race Circuit, founded in 1955, is the shortest road racing one in the UK.

It was originally for stock car racing and grass track racing for motorbikes but had tarmac laid in 1962 for car and bike road racing.

The track, previously owned by the McLaren Group, is now under the ownership of Pat Doran of Devon, who is still a practising rallycross driver.

Rallycross, a form of sprint style car racing on a closed mixed circuit, started at Lydden in February 1967.

Today the LHRC has as many as 200 to 300 people at race meetings and it is the third biggest paying tourist attraction in Dover District after Dover and Deal Castles. It is the 15th in Kent.

It has more than 55,000 visitors a year.

Following local concerns about noise LHRC this year cancelled the British Drift championship event at its own expense.

Lydden is a learning circuit and has been a starting place for household names such as car racing driver Damon Hill and the current British Superbike champion Shane Byrne.

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