Matters of moment, February 2003

Brooklands revamp awaits green light

DaimlerChrysler’s plans to purchase a 150-acre chunk of Brooklands are on hold as Elmbridge Borough Council ponders the viability and implications of such a move. The company has put forward £5m for the plot of land, on condition that plans for a Mercedes-Benz Heritage and Technology Centre are approved.

The council has decided to give this process 16 weeks of investigation rather than the regular eight, since there is so much consultation to be done. But Nick O’Donnell from the press office of DaimlerChrysler remains confident that its proposals will eventually get the green light.

“This delay was expected,” he said. “It’s a complex issue, with many people and companies involved. But we believe our application has addressed any possible problems and allayed possible misgivings.”

That, said O’Donnell, has been the key to the public support he’s felt when DaimlerChrysler has met with local resident groups.

“We have stressed all along that we would not turn the area into a city of concrete. We will be working on green initiatives, so that people will still be able to enjoy the parkdand, for instance. And the Brooklands track’s heritage will be restored and preserved for residents and visitors to enjoy.”

Where a Mercedes-Benz Heritage and Technology Centre might end up should the Brooldands plans go awry is not clear. Concluded O’Donnell: “DaimlerChrysler’s heart is set on Brooklands for its combination of motorsport heritage and location, and this company is not looking at any other venues in the UK.