I know Barry (through the internet) whose layout that is. 16mm scale on 32mm track, all the track and points are hand made. Live steam and battery electric locos. Barry also works on a very tight budget.
The main difference between your first design and the latest one is that in the first one it is easier to hide (if you want to) the fact that it’s a circuit of track. You can use a back-scene, buildings, trees, fence etc. Whereas by splitting the location the two sidings it is probably more obvious that a train ‘chases its tail’.
But of course the choice is yours. If you like something ignore anything we say and enjoy it!