Car giant Jaguar Land Rover wants to build a vast base on a greenfield site in the Leicestershire countryside.
The business, which is going through a huge cost-cutting programme, wants to create a 2.94 million sq ft “logistics campus” for spare parts distribution.
It is eyeing land near to junction 11 of the M42 at Appleby Magna, south of Ashby.
Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) has not said how many jobs would be based there, but planning documents suggest up to 700 people could be involved during peak construction.
A planning application for the site could be considered by North West Leicestershire District Council as early as September 3.
The application has generated hundreds of comments, many objecting to the scale and location of the site, and concerns about traffic.
JLR wants to bring together 10 different parts warehouses across the Midlands.
A spokeswoman said it would mean JLR pulling out of a big Neovia-run site a few miles to the east in Desford, which gained planning permission a couple of years ago for a new 1 million sq ft warehouse which has never been built.
JLR said having one logistics site would cut lorries in that part of the business by around a quarter.
The planned five units at Appleby Magna would supply replacement car parts to around 80 regions around the world including the UK, Europe, north and south America, much of Asia and India.
The existing warehouses – run by Neovia, Unipart, Ceva Logistics and Panalpina – employ around 1,200 people.
It has not been revealed how many jobs the new site could create, or who would operate it.
JLR is in the middle of a £2.5 billion cost-saving programme, part of which will see the loss of 4,500 jobs.
A JLR spokeswoman said the plans had “nothing to do” with Brexit, but were part of the business’s long-term strategic planning.
In a statement JLR said, subject to approval, it hoped to begin moving operations in early 2022 with full completion by early 2023.
It said: “The new facility will strengthen the UK’s position as the hub of the company’s global spare parts business, aggregating both Jaguar and Land Rover parts from UK and foreign suppliers and then shipping them to retailers in 80 countries via an international network of spare parts warehouses.
“It will also act as a master for the regional distribution centre in Shanghai.
“Consolidating the current 10 UK warehouse facilities into one purpose-built location will support the long-term profitable growth of the spare parts business.
“It will provide one logistics system for both marques, reduce delivery lead times, improve customer service and reduce operational costs as part of the company’s ‘charge’ and ‘accelerate’ transformation programme.
“This is part of a long-term strategic restructuring and consolidation of the company’s global spare parts business. The project was begun in early 2016, before Brexit, so it is not Brexit-related, nor is it to provide short term Brexit contingency planning.
“This is part of a strategic restructuring and consolidation of our aftermarket parts operation.”
If it gets the go-ahead JLR would lease the site from property developer IM Properties, which announced last summer that it had bought 238 acres of farmland near Appleby Magna to put up 3.6 million sq ft of warehousing.
It said the £350 million distribution park – with buildings ranging in size from 200,000 sq ft up to 1 million sq ft – could create up to 3,000 jobs.
At the time Appleby Magna residents said they were worried about the impact of such a big development, which coincides with plans for the HS2 to pass close to the village.
The JLR distribution campus would sit within a wider development, and would store 170,000 individually numbered spare parts from its suppliers – many based in the UK – which it sends out to its global customers.
The site, which is close to the A444 as well as the M42, would be accessed via the B5493.
North West Leicestershire District Council officers have yet to recommend to councillors whether the plans should be approved or rejected.
Letters of objection include concerns about the height of the buildings and area covered by the site, the impact on the local environment, carbon emissions, the loss of farming land, light pollution and increased traffic.
In one letter, a resident of nearby Chilcote said: “There has been growing realisation and recognition of the devastating effects carbon emissions are having on global warming.
“The huge amount of traffic this proposed development will generate will significantly contribute to this.
“Also, at a time when there is huge concern around our loss of bees and other insects, this proposed development will mean a large area of natural habitat, home to many forms of wildlife creature and the biodiversity that goes with that will be destroyed, never to be replaced.”
A resident of Appleby Magna wrote: “The centre of the Appleby Magna is only 950 metres from this site and the developers concede that the village would be blighted by light pollution (in addition to the noise) throughout the night.
“This is simply an intolerable imposition which will make living in the village at best unattractive and will further devalue the housing stock to the cost of house owners, let alone the damage to the environment.”
Hinckley and Bosworth MP David Tredinnick said he was opposing the plans along with Market Bosworth county councillor Ivan Ould and North Warwickshire MP Craig Tracey.
He said: “Whilst local people accept that the A444 is a significant road, there are major concerns about the increased levels of traffic, noise, pollution and impact on the safety of local residents and other road users if this proposal is approved.
“The A444 is already heavily used by HGVs and this causes great disturbance for residents of Twycross and has also led to problems near Twycross School and Twycross Zoo.”