More than 50 jobs will be created near Jedburgh after Scottish Borders Council cleared the way for the building of two whisky distilleries.
The application for the Mossburn and Jedhart distillery sites at the former Jed-Forest Hotel had been passed on to the Scottish Government following flooding concerns raised by the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency, as well as objections from neighbours who were worried about the water pressure on the natural springs, and Jedburgh businesses which stated it would take visitors out of the town.
However, the government’s planning office at the capital’s Victoria Quay stated on January 31 that they do not wish to intervene, allowing the council to approve the application.
The plans include the building of distilleries, a bottling plant, visitor centre and café.
SBC planning officer Euan Calvert, who was in support of the application, said in his assessment: “In short, this is a relatively unique proposal, certainly for the Scottish Borders, which represents a considerable investment into the region, and whose site specific requirements are acknowledged and not easily accommodated within existing employment land allocations.
“The nature of the development, in principle at least, justifies the choice of location, and provided that the detail of the scheme can address some of the challenges proposed by the rural location, it is considered that there is exceptional justification for the proposed development at this site in planning policy terms.”
Also in favour of the application was Douglas Wilson, regional director of VisitScotland, who wrote: “A distillery in this location would strengthen the visitor offer currently available in this area and also the wider Borders.
“The development would give a ‘reason to visit’ that currently doesn’t exist and it would complement the tourism offer already available in the region.”
Work is scheduled to start at the site later this year, after management plans are carried out with regards to the environment and any indiginous wildlife.