DaimlerChrysler UK has agreed to purchase a 150 acre site at Weybridge in Surrey with plans to build a unique Heritage and Technology Centre for Mercedes Benz.

The purchase of the central area of the Brooklands site, from the Universities’ Superannuation Scheme (USS), is subject to DaimlerChrysler obtaining planning consent.

Geoff Brady, Managing Director for DaimlerChrysler UK Retail said: "We plan to build the centre to commemorate the history of the world-famous Mercedes Benz marque and its association with Brooklands and as a technological showcase for our passenger cars.

"We recognise the sensitivity of this site and are working closely with Elmbridge Borough Council, the Brooklands Museum and English Heritage to ensure that our proposals will help to preserve and celebrate the rich history of Brooklands."

Removing the unsightly existing uses and improving the local environment on the current site are key elements of the project. Detailed environmental surveys are underway and the proposal will include the creation of a 60 acre community park that will be provided to Elmbridge Borough Council as a major new recreation asset. The opening of Wellington Way as a public highway will also feature in the re-development while improvements will also be made to the flood defences on the River Wey.

The Heritage and Technology Centre would be housed in a carefully designed single building and would include display galleries and a technology centre. A feature would be made of the long history of racing Mercedes at Brooklands and the theatre, visitor, education and hospitality facilities will be made available to local businesses and schools.

The new building would be next to the Brooklands Museum and historic motor racing circuit. The Centre would provide an opportunity for customers and visitors to learn about the evolution of the present day range of cars and to experience at first hand the many performance, safety, economic and environmental benefits of owning a Mercedes Benz passenger car. The centre would also offer customers the ability to customise and collect their new Mercedes Benz and to drive their new vehicles on a specially designed circuit.

Dermot Kelly, director for Mercedes Benz, said: "This proposal is exciting for the Brooklands site and Mercedes. We both share a rich heritage, and, if we are successful with our planning application, our plans would give the site the protection and development it deserves. We would enhance the open character of the site by rejuvenating the derelict areas and providing a wonderful recreational resource for the local community."

An outline planning application is currently being prepared. A proposed business development adjacent to the existing light industrial area, a four star hotel and new access for the Brooklands Museum may also be included in the application.

Published : 07/11/02 Author : Melanie Carter

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