Plans to transform abandoned farm sheds in the Moray countryside into a small craft whisky distillery could provide the region with a “significant” economy boost.
Darma London has lodged a full planning application with Moray Council on behalf of MDE Investment Limited to convert the old livestock barns at Wester Green, Dunphail, south of Forres into a whisky distillery.
As well the firm wants to build a visitors centre and new cask storage.
Under the plans, there will be parking for 10 cars, two motorcycles and two bikes.
They believe the development will provide a “welcoming and accessible experience” which draws upon the distinctive character of the distillery with the production of high quality whisky.
Planning documents say existing farm sheds will be “retained and renovated to match the original appearance” for a Scotch whisky distillery with visitors centre.
The development will also include erection of a new cask storage building by rebuilding the original barn that was recently demolished and the creation of a new stone building to be used for traditional floor malting.
The report lodged to Moray Council adds: “The new business development as part of the submitted proposal will create an employment opportunity with potentially 10 new workplaces in the distillery and visitor centre for distillery manager, distillery operators, shop assistant, visitor centre receptionist and tour guide.
“In addition to jobs at the distillery itself, the development will contribute to downstream jobs, such as those involved in the construction stage, local trades and services.
“The intention is to use local contractors, farmers and suppliers wherever possible, benefiting the local Moray economy and this development contributes to a significant investment in this area.
“The proposal will also contribute to Moray’s tourism industry by creating a place with character, identity and a sense of arrival and is compatible with policies to protect and enhance the built and natural environment.”
‘New lease of life’
Chief Executive of Visit Moray Speyside, Laurie Piper added: “Moray Speyside is recognised across the world as Malt Whisky Country.
“The plans to develop a new distillery and visitor centre just outside of Forres are a great vote of confidence in our region and in the strength of our tourism industry – not only will it add to the visitor offer, it will bring employment and will provide a new lease of life to currently disused buildings.”