US classic car collector and entrepreneur Peter Mullin plans to open a new car museum in the Cotswolds – although locals including actor Sir Patrick Stewart are already protesting against it.
Mullin is the man behind the Mullin Automative Museum in Oxnard, California, and is also chairman of LA's world-renowned Petersen Museum.
He submitted plans for the UK site – to be called The Mullin at Great Tew – in November last year, with a decision expected in April or May.
The museum would form the centrepiece of a £150 million development on a brownfield site near Chipping Norton in West Oxfordshire.
A demonstration track would circle the main building, while a Bentley-sponsored pavilion and 28 holiday lodges are also included in the planning application.
The plans state that the developers intend to use "revenue from the sale of the lodges" to help fund building of the museum and restoration of the Grade II listed Tew Park House, which is also on the site. It adds that the owners "will most likely be like-minded car collectors".
Some 200 classic cars would be housed at the museum, which would also include the latest technology to bring the collection to life.
"The Mullin at Great Tew will be an automotive experience which combines the spirit and history of the British people’s love of the motorcar with their passion for the beauty and preservation of the English countryside", reads the application.
"A superb collection of vintage to modern day automobiles will be on view, both inside the museum in state-of the-art-galleries and out of doors on a demonstration road where owners and enthusiasts can exercise their cars."
Some locals, though, are not happy.
The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) has objected to the plans, stating that it believes countryside will be damaged and that the development doesn't meet the area's needs. Sir Patrick, who owns a home nearby, protested that there is ”too much of a commercial and elitist aspect to all this: fabulously expensive historic cars, Bentley cars showroom and houses costing 5/6 million pounds.”
Mullin, however, is adamant that the development would be a force for good.
He 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.
"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."
The Mullin Automative Museum in California holds an incredible collection of Art Deco cars, among them many classic Bugattis, Delahayes, Delages and Voisins. Indeed, the Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic that was recently named the best car in the world is part of the collection.