A new museum could house a steam collection.
John Saunders, owner of The Saunders Steam and Mechanical Organ Collection in Stotfold, has submitted a planning application to build a museum on land north of Baldock Road, by Stotfold Watermill.
The steam engines, road locomotives and mechanical organs are currently stored at various locations around Stotfold and Arlesey.
The application says: “The collection is probably unparalleled as a record of English engineering and social development in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
“To ensure its safe preservation in the longer term Mr Saunders long since concluded that the only feasible solution would be to erect a building that would enable the collection to be drawn together in a single secure location and that such a building should also enable a greater degree of public appreciation than it is possible to make available at present.
“By doing so Mr Saunders aims to ensure that the collection can be preserved as an entity and that its value and interest can be passed down to future generations.”
There have been previous unsuccessful planning applications for a museum in other locations but councillors supported the idea of a museum in principle.
The collection was started by the late Mr Saunders and it has been enhanced by his son, John Saunders, over the last 40 years.
The application continues: “Many of the items in the collection today are unique and irreplaceable.
“They represent the culmination of the engineering expertise of the leading manufacturers of their era – Burrell, Fowler and the steam lorry manufacturer, Foden, amongst others.
“In several cases they comprise the last surviving working examples of their type.
“One highlight is a steam powered fairground yacht ride, which was acquired in 2002. This, an irreplaceable piece of English industrial archaeology, has since been restored to full working order.”
It is proposed that the collection would be open to visitors for about 254 days a year. There would be tea dances, big band nights and Christmas shows.
It is expected that the establishment would create one full time job and around 70 casual part time jobs.
There would be 147 parking spaces for cars and 28 for coaches.