Moves to house a Formula One team at a new research and development centre in Warwickshire are being challenged by a local council.

Planning officers at Solihull have joined residents and local councillors in objecting to proposals from technical engineering firm Prodrive to transform its automotive centre with a £100 million makeover.

The company aims to create up to 800 new jobs at its site at Fenn End, near Kenilworth, by becoming a world leading hub of the UK automotive technology industry.

However, concerns have been raised that if the scheme goes ahead it will see a massive increase in traffic and the development of green belt land. Objections to plans which have been submitted to Warwick District Council have been made by local parish councillors and residents.

However, Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council has also registered its opposition as the neighbouring authority.

A spokeswoman said: "We have objected because we feel it is an inappropriate development on green belt land.

"Developments on green belt land need to meet special circumstances and we do not believe this meets that criteria.

"We also believe it will encourage car travel. This conflicts with policies for less reliance on cars."

The plans would see the revitalisation of Prodrive's 200-acre site, which currently employs 200 people working on prototypes for car makers including Ford, Aston Martin and Land Rover. The location, which would be renamed The Fulcrum, would see new offices, design studios, research and development laboratories and a conference centre.

Plans are also afoot for a new Prodrive Formula One team, with a new building being constructed to house staff who will design and manufacture the race cars.

Chris Lewis, a parish councillor with Beausale, Haseley, Honiley and Wroxall Parish Council, said the plans were not in keeping with the rural area.

He said his objections were also based on concerns over the loss of green belt land and the increase in traffic. He said the scheme would also destroy wildlife, set a precedent for other developments, and conflicted with the local develop-ment plan.

Coun Lewis added: "The one redeeming factor with this scheme is the claim that it will create 800 jobs.

"But most of those jobs will be for people with specialist and specific skills that we do not have in this location.

"We also have full employment in our community so the opportunities would not be beneficial for us."

Objections have also been submitted by the Fulcrum Prodrive Action Group which has raised serious safety issues over the increase in traffic.

Prodrive's corporate PR manager Ben Sayer said: "There will be more traffic created because there will be hundreds more jobs created.

"It is one of those clouds with a silver lining.

"But certainly we have looked at minimising the impact of traffic.

"It is a shame that we have these objections, especially as a lot of the new jobs will go to people from Solihull."

Mr Sayer said Warwick District Council's draft plan had identified the Prodrive site as a location for major development. ..SUPL: