Moray councillors have given unanimous approval to a £100million Speyside whisky development that is expected to significantly increase production and tourism in the region.
Members of the planning and regulatory services committee welcomed the construction of a new distillery and visitor centre at the Macallan site near Craigellachie.
The application by distillery owners Edrington received cross-party support with committee chairman Douglas Ross commending the applicants for the quality and design of the development, which is now expected to be completed by 2017.
Councillor Ross added that the plans for the site were “nothing short of remarkable”.
Speyside Glenlivet councillor and the SNP Opposition leader, Councillor Pearl Paul, added that investment on the scale proposed was great news for Speyside and would mean more jobs both directly and through the supply chain for the whisky sector.
She said: “It is hugely important that the development of high quality industry with high skill employment is supported.”
Her local colleague Councillor Mike McConachie added: “Like many people in Speyside I have many family and friends employed in our iconic malt whisky distilleries and The Macallan is one of our best known around the world.
“This is not simply a new distillery but will also be a massive whisky tourism draw for Moray Speyside when it is complete.”
The decision was also warmly welcomed by Moray’s MP Angus Robertson, who commented: “This £100million investment demonstrates how incredibly buoyant the malt whisky sector is and the fantastic level of confidence in the future that is running right through the sector.
“The design for the new distillery is incredibly innovative and will be a jewel in Moray Speyside’s crown.”
His Holyrood colleague and Scottish Government minister responsible for the food and drink sector, Richard Lochhead MSP, added: “Whisky is a massive contributor to our economy in Moray Speyside and also to the wider Scottish economy. Macallan is one of Scotland’s most renowned and prestigious brands and this investment is fantastic news.
“This is set to be one of the biggest whisky investments in recent years and I very much look forward to this iconic project taking ship in the heart of malt whisky country.”