An American millionaire and car collector has chosen an airfield in the Banbury Guardian area to build his ‘legacy’.
Businessman and philanthropist Peter Mullin wants to build a 160-acre, £150 million car museum at Enstone Airfield, which is expected to create up to 100 jobs.
A planning application has been submitted to West Oxon District Council, which also includes a car exercise road, hospitality and 28 holiday lodges, which will be bought by car collectors.
The former Second World War airfield currently includes a race and rally track, used by Vision Motorsport which will cease to operate if the museum is given the go-ahead.
If approved, the Mullin Museum will join other motoring museums in the ‘Motorsport Valley’, including the British Motor Museum in Gaydon, as a major tourist attraction for the region.
A spokesman for Mr Mullin said the Mullin Museum would be unique in having some of the ‘rarest and finest’ cars in the world, such as the 1936 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic, and having an exercise road so visitors could see the cars in motion.
The display cars will come from Mr Mullin’s own collection, other car museums in the world and from holiday lodge owners who will only be able to buy a holiday lodge on condition they will display their cars in the museum.
Revenue from the lodges will provide £12.7million for restoration of Tew Park
Mr Mullin said: “This project is something I have been considering for many years. All my collection is European and this has become a once in a lifetime opportunity to bring them home. And where better than the epicentre of motor sport and car manufacturing in Britain. I am very proud of what we as a team have proposed, which if approved, will create perhaps the world’s leading automotive park and museum in the world.
“This is not a business venture for me, it is a legacy project and it is my most sincere desire to share cars from my collection, with the general public and to create a centre of learning to inspire future generations. Furthermore, I will use my influence to bring together other collectors and collections from around the world, many of whom have already shown considerable interest in getting involved.
“If we are successful in gaining planning permission, we will create something unique here, bringing a whole series of benefits in terms of education and tourism to the economy. It will add considerably to the culture and heritage of the region, as well as transforming a scarred brownfield site, which is totally out of keeping with the surrounding area.”
But local residents and the Campaign to Protect Rural England have opposed the plans although Great Tew and Steeple Barton Parish Councils have supported it. Comments include concerns about increased traffic to the area as well as criticism of the holiday lodge plans.
In a bid to tackle traffic issues, the museum will have a pre-booked ticketing system with visitors given a three-hour window between 9.30am and 4.30pm, will encourage the use of public transport, run shuttle buses to Charlbury and Oxford Parkway and set up a traffic forum with assistance from Oxon County Council.