Residents furious over £150m motor museum plan for Enstone Airfield
While many of the rich and famous are behind the Mullin Automotive Museum on Great Tew Estate and Enstone Airfield, the locals are furious.
Harry and Meghan’s ‘chosen’ home in Great Tew is at the centre of a planning row with retrospective plans for a long, stone driveway attracting ire from neighbours.
Comments on the West Oxfordshire District Council planning portal show residents have already had enough of being a ‘playground for the wealthy’.
Many complain about what they say is heavy speeding traffic generated by Soho Farmhouse.
The original plan even drew criticism from actor Sir Patrick Stewart, who lives locally.
The revised plan submitted in November involves a museum, ‘show lane’ building, corporate hospitality building, workshop, a car exercise road and construction of 28 ‘holiday lodges’.
Nicole Page Croft of Cleveley said: “I object to the idea of an enclave of houses accessible only to the super-rich.”
Nicky Ponsonby of Ledwell described the plan as ‘a Trojan Horse for a large development of holiday lodges in open countryside... intended to be second (or third) homes with ownership exclusive to those owning cars within the museum’.
Elsewhere in the list of hundreds of objections and letters in support of the museum, hospital consultant Nicola de Savary warned of noise pollution from the planned vehicle exercise track.
She said ‘ever-expanding’ Soho Farmhouse had already caused traffic, noise and light pollution.
Some residents also fear greatly increased use of the airstrip at Enstone by helicopters and private jets carrying visitors.
Kylie Cobb Stanier of Wigginton said: “Yet another development trying to bring London to the countryside... wealth shouldn’t be used to swallow the countryside.”
Zoe Johnson QC of Kirtlington said: “There is no compelling evidence that this motor museum will benefit the local economy. It is a vanity project of two rich men.”
Letters of support havealso been sent to planners from around the UK and abroad.
Crawford Geddes of Linlithgow said: “The country needs more visionary projects like this at a time when we are becoming more isolated and need to show that we are still leaders on a European stage.”
Hon Martin Hunt of Sussex said he feared the project would move to Germany if the application was refused.
Motoring historian David Burgess-Wise, of Essex said: “This is an opportunity to be grasped with both hands: to gift it to Germany through blind nimbyism would be an unforgivable act.”
Insurance billionaire Peter Mullin, 78, describes Enstone Airfield as ‘a blot on the landscape’.
“Norman Foster, Britain’s greatest living architect, has just completed the Apple HQ in California and has agreed to work on our project and bring the greatest minds to bear on its creation.
“With regard to perceived congestion in local villages this simply won’t be the case. Over 90 per cent of visitors will come from outside Oxfordshire.
“They will not be speeding through Middle Barton, Sandford or Little Tew. They won’t even know they exist. They are totally different from Soho Farmhouse or Renault F1 employees.”
The complex would transform the airfield into something better than a housing estate, said Mr Mullin.
He said visitors would book online and be encouraged to come by train from local stations and would be shuttled to and from the site.
Mr Mullin already has one Mullin Automobile Museum in an urban area of Los Angeles.
To see more, rnter the reference number 18/03319/OUT here.