A £150m classic car museum and automotive park led by an American businessman could be built in West Oxfordshire along with 28 luxury holiday homes.

Peter Mullin, a classic car collector and philanthropist from California, has 'fallen in love' with Oxfordshire put forward the proposals which will take up 160 acres of land next to Soho Farmhouse in Great Tew.

But locals feared it could become a 'pleasure playground for billionaires' and campaigners said the county needs smaller homes for families instead.

The museum itself would have around 200 cars from as far back as the 1920s on display and would create 100 jobs, including mechanics and tour guides alongside an apprentice scheme.

Oxford Mail: The Mullin Automotive Museum in Oxnard, California

The museum in California 

The Mullin - as it would be known - would also use virtual reality to bring the exhibits to life and plans to partner with organisations such as Pixar, Microsoft and Disney, and have a landscaped road for punters to see the cars in action.

Oxford Mail:

Peter Mullin - pic. ArtCenter College of Design ​

Mr Mullin, who built Mullin Automotive Museums in California, 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."

He added: "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."

Oxford Mail: The proposed £150m classic car museum in West Oxfordshire

The 28 holiday lodges will be sold to private individuals who would be expected to store their cars in the museum’s basement storage vault on display to the public.

The developer said the lodges were needed to make the whole project commercially viable and would yield £20m for the museum’s business model and £12.7m towards the restoration and rebuilding of Tew Park House.

Oxford Mail:

Peter Mullin

But the Campaign to Protect Rural England said smaller houses and not ‘luxury second homes’ were needed in the district.

Acting chair of CPRE West Oxon, Justine Garbutt, 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.”

The brownfield site has not been earmarked for housing and the homes built are restricted to holiday use.

Retired judge Charles Harris, who lives in Westcott Barton, less than two miles from the site, said: “The plan envisages taking 60 acres of attractive farmland, and converting it into a large pleasure compound to contain holiday houses for billionaires.

“It is inappropriate to mutilate the countryside to provide a colony of sporadic weekend refuges for the very rich.”

He also said nearby classic car museums in Gaydon and at Bicester Heritage meant there wasn’t a need for a third in the region.

But project director Kieran Hedigan said the museum would be enjoyed by people of all ages and backgrounds.

He said: "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."

He added: "Is it elitist to be open 300 days a year, to offer discounted annual membership to local community residents, to welcome schools trips with free admission, to employ apprentices, to establish scholarships with local universities, and seek out and train retired car enthusiasts as museum guides?"

Great Tew Parish Council, which hosted a villagers' meeting on the plans, supported the scheme and said: "The general consensus of the meeting was this was 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 and road network than either the nearby Soho House development or the housing estate that been the subject of previous application."

Steeple Barton Parish Council also supported the plans but there were objections from Westcote Barton Parish Council, Sandford St Martin and Ledwell Parish Council, Enstone Parish Council and Duns Tew Parish Council.

A date has not yet been set for a decision by West Oxfordshire District Council.