Beds, Herts & Bucks

Stotfold steam museum plan backed by council

Mortier steam organ Image copyright John Saunders
Image caption The Mortier steam organ is one of a large collection, which includes fairground rides and steam boats

Multimillion-pound plans to put a private collection of steam engines, fairground rides and mechanical organs on permanent display have been backed by a local authority.

Steam enthusiast John Saunders is hoping to put up a new building to house the Saunders Collection on land near Baldock Road, Stotfold.

Central Bedfordshire Council backed the scheme in principle.

It will be reviewed by the government before getting final approval.

The collection could go on public view by summer 2015.

The scheme is expected to create up to 70 full and part-time jobs.

Image copyright John Saunders
Image caption The Saunders Collection could be given a permanent public home in Stotfold in Bedfordshire

Mr Saunders told the BBC earlier he hoped to provide a permanent public home for the "fully operational" collection of more than 40 steam machines including fairground rides, steam cars and lorries, and fairground organs.

"This would be the ideal location for tourism and leisure," he said.

Officers in a report to the council said the plans should be referred to the government as it is a development in an area designated as open countryside.

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