Classic car museums are an excellent place to see rare vehicles that represent the pinnacle of automotive design. There are plenty of outstanding venues in the UK, ranging from the British Motor Museum, to the Dover Transport Museum. Another could potentially be built in Oxfordshire. The new museum, dubbed The Mullin, would be built next to Soho Farmhouse in Great Tew.
A bold vision
The project is being proposed by American business mogul, Peter Mullin, an avid classic car collector. Mullin is no stranger to car displays because he built the Mullin Automotive Museum in Oxnard, California. The museum would feature 200 cars from the 1920s to modern times and have 28 on-site luxury holiday homes. It would also incorporate virtual reality to create interactive exhibits in partnership with Disney and Microsoft. In addition, a test track would be featured so visitors could watch cars in action.
Speaking to the Oxford Mail, Mullin described his reasoning. “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 motorsport 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 create a centre of learning to inspire future generations.”
If the museum were to be greenlit then it could potentially create 100 jobs, including tour guides and mechanics. The holiday homes would be sold to private buyers and their cars would be stored in the a vault beneath the museum. The developer mentioned the homes were integral to the museum being built, creating a profit of £20 million for the business model. £12.7 million would also go towards the restoration of Tew Park House.
But not everyone is on board with the plans as many locals feel there could be damage to the environment. Some campaigners feel the land should be devoted towards smaller cottages and families. Chairman of the Campaign To Protect Rural England West Oxon, Justine Garbutt, has said “there are enough large, luxury homes in the district to provide for anyone who can afford one as a second home and that therefore using this land to build more is a waste of valuable land resources. The need in the district is for small units for first time buyers and the elderly.”
However, project director Kieran Hedigan believes the museum would be beneficial for everyone. “I have heard it said in some quarters that this is elitist. This is to completely misunderstand our intentions and could not be further from the truth. One of the key objectives of The Mullin is to serve audiences of all ages, rich and poor, young and old. This is a destination for grandparents and grandchildren and everyone in between.”
The Great Tew Parish Council is supportive of the project, believing it to be a “well-thought out and sensitive application for an unattractive brownfield site and one which would prove easier to manage in terms of impact on the surrounding environment.”
Ultimately, West Oxfordshire District Council will make the final decision, though a date has yet to be specified. The creation of The Mullin has pros and cons, so it’ll be interesting to see what the decision is.
Do you think The Mullin should be built?