St Boswells distillery bid moves another step closer to reality after clearing potential planning hurdle

Moves to open another distillery in the Borders have moved a step closer to reality after clearing a potential planning hurdle.

By Paul Kelly
Monday, 1st June 2020, 1:11 pm
How a whisky distillery being planned at Charlesfield industrial estate in St Boswells would look.
How a whisky distillery being planned at Charlesfield industrial estate in St Boswells would look.

Jackson Distillers aims to create a grain whisky suitable for blending at a distillery on farmland north-east of GA White Motors on the Charlesfield Industrial Estate at St Boswells.

The site would also include associated bonded warehousing, car parking, a tank farm and boilerhouse.

Jackson Distillers, set up three years ago by St Boswells farmer Trevor Jackson, has earmarked the site as being ideal to establish only the second whisky distillery to open in the region in the last 180 years, the first being the Borders Distillery at Commercial Road in Hawick, launched in 2018 at a cost of £10m.

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The company’s agent, Dunfermline-based Mabbett and Associates, has submitted an environmental impact assessment screening option report to Scottish Borders Council planners, and it’s been told that such an assessment is not necessary, paving the way for a full planning bid to be submitted in due course.

Planning officer Julie Hayward said: “There is nothing inherent within the proposal that would affect human health, either during the construction phase or operational phase in terms of contamination of the land, last used for agriculture, or potential air or water pollution, subject to standard health and safety procedures being in place.”

In its report, the Fife firm says: “Spirit for gin and whisky production will be produced from grain locally in the Borders. The grain will be mixed with hot water, then mashed to convert starches to sugar, fermented and then distilled to create alcohol.

“The spent grains from this process are proposed to be utilised within the anaerobic digestion facility located adjacent to the application site in order to generate energy.

“The applicant has considered alternative sites during the selection process. However, this site has been selected in part because it is adjacent to the anaerobic digestion facility, which has the potential to provide electricity for the proposed development, and close proximity to the local transport network for deliveries.”

If approved, it is estimated that construction of the development would take up to 20 months.