SOLIHULL COUNCIL: Distillery plan remains in the pipeline
Gin lovers are likely to discover whether plans for Solihull’s very own distillery are set to get the thumbs-up from the council in the coming months.
A planning application for a new operation, which would be capable of bottling up to 10,000 litres of “upmarket” alcohol every year, was submitted in late 2019.
Around 800 juniper trees, to produce the berry crop needed to flavour the popular drink, would be planted alongside manufacturing premises.
The scheme hoped to capitalise on the “fast growing” demand for the spirit, which has prompted distilleries to open from the South West to the Shetland Isles.
But despite a flurry of interest in the business venture, which would be based on a parcel of green belt off Widney Manor Road, there has been no news for over 12 months.
The council’s planning portal still listed the proposals, but they were marked as “awaiting decision” – with no sign of if or when they would be considered.
Items are sometimes withdrawn by an applicant, although this would normally be recorded in the online registry.
This week, Solihull Council’s planning department confirmed that the scheme was still in its system.
Apparently the local authority had requested further information which was provided late last year.
“A decision will be taken on the application itself in due course,” said a spokesman.
Plans will be either dealt with by planning officers direct or else be referred to the planning committee – a panel of nine councillors who hold meetings, most often monthly, to discuss the larger or more complicated schemes.
Aside from the outdoor orchard, the application would include mostly pre-fab facilities, including a still – crucial for producing alcohol – a storage area, loading area, offices and a tasting/showroom.
Words: David Irwin, Local Democracy Reporter
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