Up to 7,500 cars will be stored on hardstandings and runways at the former RAF Wyton airfield after a fleet management firm was given the go-ahead to use the site.

The scheme, by C Walton Ltd, was approved by Huntingdonshire District Council's development management committee.

The firm, the UK's second largest fleet management company, applied to the council for permission to store cars on the airfield for 10 years.

Opposition to the plan, which was not in line with the local plan, had come from Wyton on the Hill, Houghton and Wyton and Broughton parish councils which were concerned about increased congestion on the A141, while Old Hurst and Woodhurst parishes backed it, along with St Ives Town Council.

Cambridgeshire County Council as the local highway authority has no objections on traffic grounds.

Members were concerned about access routes to the site by transporters carrying the cars and the possibility of them using rural roads but were told by the firm's agent Brian Mullin that the approved route only involved main roads.

Local member Cllr David Keane said calculations showed it would be possible to fit up to 12,000 cars on the hardstandings.

The committee heard that the site would not be lit at night because security systems did not need this.

A report to the committee said the plan constituted a sustainable development, was on a brownfield site and that the vehicular movements had a "less than severe" impact.

The report said: "It is therefore considered that the landscape and visual impacts of the proposed use of the for car storage are acceptable, subject to the imposition of a condition to secure detailed planting mitigation proposals to reinforce the boundaries of the site.

"Furthermore, the impacts arising from the proposed use would be reversed upon cessation of the use."

It added that a proposed car wash and security kiosk would be visible from the A141 but would not have a significant detrimental impact on the appearance of the area.

C Walton Ltd's customer base was said to have a requirement for car storage which had been created by a temporary over-supply of new cars.

The former airfield would be used to store the vehicles direct from the port after manufacture in Europe before checking and preparation so they can be taken on to dealerships by transporter.

Plans to build up to 4,500 homes on the airfield, where flying stopped some years ago, have been suspended over infrastructure issues at the base on the outskirts of St Ives.