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Distillery disillusion

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By Fiona Reid
Distillery disillusion

PLANS to transform a former garage in Moffat into a whisky distillery have been criticised by worried neighbours.

Nick Bullard, of Dark Sky Spirits Ltd, the company behind the town’s signature blend, ‘The Moffat’, recently applied for planning permission to create the town’s first distillery.

The plans were submitted to Dumfries and Galloway Council last month and requested a change of use to Hydro Garage to create a distillery and visitor information centre, as well as a car park.

But the transformation bid has angered neighbours, who have lodged a host of formal objections to the development.

Complaints range from fears of noise and air pollution to major concerns about parking and traffic.

And one complainer says the application is invalid as the address is listed incorrectly as Beechgrove, not Old Edinburgh Road.

One objector, in their formal complaint, said: “My principal objection is to the establishment of a distillery and visitor centre on such a small site so close to residential properties where the access, parking and traffic arrangements would almost certainly be inadequate and detrimental to local residents.”

Concerned residents turned up to Tuesday night’s meeting of Moffat Community Council to garner support from the committee.

One member of the public said: “It doesn’t feel as though this is being treated properly.

“This is a significant change of use and if a visitor centre does open it could mean non-stop cars, even coach loads of people turning up. It will be a parking and traffic nightmare and vastly change the feel of the area.”

Another added: “I admire the enterprise, the company name, Dark Sky, is clever, the idea is great but undoubtedly it’s just in the wrong place.

“The location is too remote, too close to homes and too small.”

Moffat Community Council have agreed to support the neighbours and take up their issues with the council’s planning department.

Meanwhile, responding to the objections, Mr Bullard of Dark Sky Spirits says neighbours were heavily consulted.

He said: “Despite spending tens of thousands of pounds on research and conducting hundreds of interviews and 14 neighbour consultations, only one person voiced a concern in the early stages.

“But it’s important that people have their voices heard, which is why the formal planning process is in place.”

He added: “I believe a distillery would be very good for Moffat. I am confident that, while we may receive objections on any specific site, ultimately we will find a location that makes sense for our community as a whole.

“We live, work, learn, volunteer and relax in this town. I’m always happy to talk to anyone about whisky, blending or distilleries.”

The site was formerly home to D F Paton Agricultural Forest and Garden Engineers for 50 years, it closed in March.


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