A Midlothian distillery will be able to produce five times more gin than it currently can after being given the green light to expand.
The owners of The Secret Herb Garden in Lothianburn have been granted a building permit to expand their gin business and open a new visitor center and tasting room on the site.
The company says it expects to create nearly 40 new jobs through the expansion, which will see an additional 500 liters added to its current stills which have capacities of 20 liters and 100 liters.
Midlothian Council planners approved the proposals, which received two objections.
Opponents have raised concerns about the expansion of a green belt site and the noise created by visitors to the site.
However, the planners decided that the “very small scale” of the operation would have no material effect on their decision.
The Secret Herb Garden attracts approximately 20,000 visitors per year to its 7.5 acre site, home to its current herb nursery, shop, café and distillery.
He requested a partial change in use of the existing distillery and barn to relocate the existing drying room, offices and staff facilities and change part of the barn to expand the distillery and create a new hall of reception, a tasting area and a shop.
An agent statement says the drying room will be surrounded by glass as part of the visitors’ experience, as they will be able to observe the production process.
He says jobs will be created by the expansion, adding, “The proposal will nearly double employment levels at the Secret Garden Distillery, from 34 current employees to 47 employees by 2023-24.
“The proposal will also increase the number of jobs at Secret Herb Garden from 48 current employees to 68 employees during the summer by 2023-24.
“This equates to 38 additional new jobs at the company by 2023-24 due to the proposed development.”
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Recommend plans to planners for approval said: “The two stills currently in use in the distillery, one 20-liter and one 100-liter, will be used in the new building, along with a new 500-liter still.
“The details submitted on the proposed distillery production are of a relatively low level and would not have a significant negative impact on the amenity of the surrounding area compared to the existing and approved situation.
“Base gin production in the proposed stills would be on a small scale.”
Planning approval was granted with conditions including the operation of the house from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays.