Plans for distillery in 'ghost village' approved by council

Portavadie Distillers and Blenders’ new facilities, which include a distillery, visitor centre and restaurant, will be based at Polphail.

Plans for distillery in ‘ghost village’ approved by Argyll and Bute Council © Google Maps 2022

Plans for a distillery, visitor centre and restaurant in Cowal have been given the go-ahead by council chiefs.

Portavadie Distillers and Blenders’ application was awarded planning permission by Argyll and Bute Council planning officers after two members of the public expressed their support.

The new facilities will be based at the ‘ghost village’ at Polphail, near Portavadie, and will also include parking for 31 cars.

The village was built in the 1970s to house workers during the construction of a new oil platform off the coast of Portavadie, but ultimately the accommodation was never occupied, and the buildings had been demolished by 2016.

A planning officer said in a handling report: “The main public visitor entrance to the distillery is designed to be of a minimal scale and obvious on arrival.

“The visitor building steps back from the road side to form a small plaza with a stone wall leading to the entrance door.

“An entrance canopy would connect perpendicular to the first building and continue through the buildings linking them together and forming an internal street with a view of the copper still at the end.

“This clearly tells visitors what the function of the building is upon arrival and the internal link also serves to organise various spaces accessed directly from the corridor, including a retail shop, reception, tasting room and gathering space.

“A distillery tour route would begin at the gathering space to the end of the ‘street’. The tour would logically follow the process – beginning at the mash tun and mill; continuing to the washbacks; before reaching the copper stills, where views out across Loch Fyne to Tarbert can be seen.

“The working distillery would be a large bright, open space.

“The tour route would continue to the lower ground floor and end in the tasting room. Visitors would then have the option to return up the main stair and exit or continue through to the restaurant.”

The application site already has an existing application for a distillery and visitor centre which was awarded planning permission.

The officer added: “The current application varies the design of the building and proposes landscaping of the spoil heaps which are the remains of the former Polphail village.

“The building is now more contemporary in appearance and it uses the slope of the topography to create more height for pot stills whilst not raising the ridge of the building.

“It not only maximises the surrounding views out to Loch Fyne, but sensitively responds to views back towards the building as part of the coastline.”