Decision day as neighbours seek to block distillery plans

Edrington insist all possible steps are being taken to reduce the visual impact at their new Distillery and Visitor Centre
Edrington insist all possible steps are being taken to reduce the visual impact at their new Macallan Distillery and Visitor Centre

A DISTILLERY GIANT will today seek to defend its £100million expansion against claims that they would “wreak havoc” on their neighbours’ quality of life.

Planning permission for the building of a new cooperage and 10 warehouses is being sought by Edrington, owners of the Macallan Distillery near Aberlour.

The whisky giants have already started work on a new distillery and visitor centre for which they were given planning approval earlier this year. Now they are seeking permission from the local authority to create the warehouses on the site between Aberlour and Craigellachie.

However, despite the company insisting that they are seeking to work closely with neighbours to minimise any visual impact the new buildings would cause, objections have been raised and will be considered by members of the planning and regulatory services today.

Planning officers have recommended the Edrington bid be accepted, citing “the economic and employment benefits of business and industrial growth” as a material consideration.

In their recommendation, planning officers admit that there would be a visible environmental impact from the development resulting in a “change in the landscape and visual character”. However, they insist that conditions they have set on the plans would combine to “reduce the landscape and other environmental effects”.

The recommendation to the committee adds: “In the absence of unacceptable or significant adverse effects, the proposal is considered to accord with, rather than depart from, the development plan and there are no material considerations that indicate otherwise.”

However, objections have been raised by local residents Tim and Gaynor Barry, whose home overlooks the development.

The couple say that the plans would lead to what would be a massive industrial estate in the heart of the countryside, wreaking havoc on their quality of life, adding: “But no one seems to be interested in stopping them, we are just being treated as collateral damage.”

Ahead of the meeting a spokeswoman for Edrington insisted that they had always wished to work with neighbours and minimise disruption and the visual impact the new buildings would bring.

She said: “This is a project that will provide vital infrastructure for the new distillery – which will be a site of major architectural significance. When it is complete in 2017 the new distillery and visitors’ centre will bring both employment and significant economic benefits to our local community.

“We are working closely with our neighbours on a landscape and planning scheme that will minimise any visual impacts.”