Councillors are to spend a day at the races after doubts were thrown on plans for a green research centre at Blyton Park Driving Centre.
Following complaints from neighbours about potential noise from electric vehicles, West Lindsey District Council’s planning committee voted in favour of visiting the development on land off Kirton Road, Blyton, Gainsborough.
The applicants said the automotive research centre will develop electric and autonomous vehicle technologies.
Bosses hope the move will diversify the business and bring them into “synergy” with the automotive industry as a whole.
The proposal also includes two wind turbines and ground mounted solar panels.
Alistair Wood, agent for the applicants said: “The proposal is a concept based on sustainability through which vehicles can be operated and wholly charged from on site renewable sources.
“The development will help to diversify an existing driving centre business, bolster the local economy by continuing to generate spin-off benefits to other local business, and will also generate new employment opportunities within the local area.”
Mr Wood said the business currently operates at full capacity and was successful. He said noise levels were monitored daily and inspected periodically by WLDC officers.
“As a consequence of this open relationship, there is no long list of complaints or actions in relation to the existing use,” he said.
He added that an increase in electric vehicle uses would actually reduce noise levels compared to combustion engines.
He told the committee the design was “intended to be low profile” and “not appear out of context”. He said it would positively reflect the former airfield control building on site.
The building will include a control centre, new garages on the ground floor with access to the track in a ‘pit lane’ arrangement, and four office/conference suites.
Each garage will include a battery wall to charge the cars from the renewable energy sources.
The business will provide a total of 12 full-time equivalent jobs.
The council has received comments from 12 local residents raising concerns including longer working hours, noise impacts, the impact on nearby listed buildings and the impact of the wind turbines.
Gordon Tulley, the owner of the nearby Respect Green Burial Parks told councillors: “This proposal will increase traffic dramatically.
“It curtails our business dramatically already in that we can only operate and have funerals between 12.45pm-1.15pm – 30 minutes.”
And he said locals felt their previous complaints had been “ignored”.
Mr Tulley, who raced cars himself, said he knew what noise they made – despite electric cars being quieter.
He added local residents included an autistic child and raised concerns for their health.
He was also critical of the green power plans, and questioned why the developers could not use the planned nearby solar farm – which is currently under consultation and has not been through the planning process yet.
Councillor Roger Patterson proposed approving the plans which he said were to be built on a brownfield site.
He said it was already noisy, adding: “I don’t see how a research centre is going to create noise, I presume most will be inside and if it is outside it’ll be quiet.”
However, Councillor Robert Waller felt the application was “finely balanced” and that a site visit would “give both parties a fair chance”.