AN English whisky distillery opposed by locals for being too “Scottish” has been given approval after a long planning battle.
The £4m distillery is set to be built in Princetown, Devon, and will be the largest in the UK outside Scotland.
The distillery, which will be built in Dartmoor National Park, will feature a pagoda-style roof used throughout the industry north of the border.
Plans for the distillery were put forward by Princetown Distillers, but angry villagers opposed them, complaining that “Princetown is not Scotland”.
The site has been chosen because of its high rainfall and low temperatures, which are ideal for whisky production.
The distillery was designed by Helensburgh-based company Organic Architects, the team behind the iconic Ardnamurchan Distillery in Glenbeg, Highland.
The plans incorporate the distinctive, curved pagoda found at numerous Scottish distilleries including Dalwhinnie in the Highlands and Laphroaig on Islay.
Locals were given the opportunity to comment on the plans back in January, and many objected to the sheer Scottishness of them.
Alison Green complained: “The pagoda, whilst typical to Scottish distilleries is not typical here and inappropriate to a building in Princetown or anywhere on Dartmoor.”
Another person, known only as D Spence, wrote a letter of objection, stating: “Even the architect for the distillery said the design of the high tower and general appearance of the property is purely cosmetic and in keeping to a traditional Scottish distillery.
“Well Princetown is not Scotland and the looks are not in keeping to the local area. I fear further growth once initial distillery is built which would impact further turning Dartmoor into an industrial area.”
Another objector wrote: “The building design is based on traditional Scottish distilleries as we were told at the council meeting.
“There is nothing in the cultural history of Princetown connected with whisky distilling, although it does harbour a stinking eyesore of a brewery that does nothing to enhance our Dartmoor village, so perhaps a lesson could be learnt from that aberration.
Dartmoor National Park Authority confirmed the plans had received approval this week.
Speaking to local media, Rowan Maule, a director at Somerset-based Princetown Distillers said: “We are very pleased.
“This will be a great asset to the town, bringing tourist interest and will be a contributor to the local economy.”
But Dr Tom Greeves of The Dartmoor Society said: Dr Tom Greeves of The Dartmoor Society said: “It is a very sad day for the cultural heritage of Dartmoor and Princetown in particular.”
Graeme Bowie, Distillery Manager at Tomintoul-Glenlivet Distillery, in Ballindalloch, Speyside, said the pagoda was not actually a Scottish feature, but was originally used on distilleries for practical reasons.
He said: “I wouldn’t say pagodas are traditionally Scottish – you get them in Japan for example – they are more of a feature of whisky distilleries generally.
“They were used when distilleries used to malt their own barley. They acted as a ventilator. Some would come out on different levels, and this produces the
smokiness of the barley.
“Now, they’re more of a design feature.”
Once operational, the Dartmoor distillery will be capable of producing around 400,000 litres of pure alcohol per year.