Is­lay whisky vis­i­tor cen­tre plan­ning per­mis­sion re­fused

The Oban Times - - News -

PLANS for a tem­po­rary vis­i­tor cen­tre for Is­lay’s new­est and ninth dis­tillery have been re­fused by Ar­gyll and Bute Coun­cil.

The plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion, sub­mit­ted by Hep­burn Con­sult­ing, pro­posed turn­ing a di­lap­i­dated barn at Ard­na­hoe Farm­house near Port Askaig into an in­terim dis­tillery vis­i­tors’ cen­tre for two years, ‘giv­ing suf­fi­cient time to build the new dis­tillery and then trans­fer the vis­i­tor ex­pe­ri­ence to the new build­ing’.

Doc­u­ments cited ‘nu­mer­ous en­quiries from groups, is­land tour guides and in­di­vid­u­als look­ing to visit and view the pro­ject’. The cen­tre in­cludes re­tail and ex­hibit space but it is not the in­ten­tion to at­tract more vis­i­tors to the site but to man­age and safely con­trol those who agree to visit.’

How­ever the ap­pli­ca­tion drew ob­jec­tions from di­rect neigh­bours who wrote: ‘The sit­ing of a vis­i­tor cen­tre/ re­tail premises within the cur­rently dis­used barn and us­ing the dwelling house as a site of­fice will gen­er­ate in­creased traf­fic us­ing an en­trance that has re­duced vis­i­bil­ity due to its po­si­tion on a blind bend. These groups and tours will ar­rive in mini buses and in large num­bers. The vis­i­tor num­bers for Bun­na­hab­hain are cur­rently 12,000 per an­num.

‘If just half of these vis­i­tors stop off on the way, this equates to 6,000 vis­i­tors per an­num. The pro­posed six car park­ing spa­ces will be in­suf­fi­cient. The ap­pli­cant should be en­cour­aged to con­cen­trate on the con­struc­tion of the dis­tillery and ap­pro­pri­ate fa­cil­i­ties on that site for vis­i­tors when it is com­pleted.’

Ar­gyll and Bute Coun­cil con­cluded ve­hi­cle ac­cess and park­ing would not be ad­e­quate to cope with de­mand and ‘the pro­posal presents an un­ac­cept­able road safety risk’.

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