Falkirk distillery downsizes visitor centre plans as repairs and COVID impact

The dilapidated condition of Falkirk's old Rosebank distillery, combined with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, could mean changes to the new distillery and visitor centre being built on the site.

By Kirsty Paterson
Wednesday, 13th January 2021, 12:35 pm
Rosebank Distillery (Picture Michael Gillen)

A wall of one of the large bonded warehouses has collapsed, putting the building beyond repair, so a new planning application is seeking permission to replace it with a modern extension.

The distillery area itself, overlooking Camelon Road, will not be affected, and most of the canalside facade will also be retained to preserve its character, according to the new application.

The existing planning permission was granted to Ian Macleod Distillers for an operational distillery which will be followed within three to five years by new visitor facilities including a cafe.

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Work started to transform the site in autumn 2019, and by November of that year, the disused distillery buildings facing onto Camelon Road had been demolished.

The first Covid lockdown in March brought a halt to construction for a few months - but during that time detailed inspections took place.

During these, the extent of the structural damage became apparent, and safety fears were raised over the condition of parts of the building.

That, combined with a downturn in tourism due to the pandemic, led to the development of the revised plans.

The aim now is to have a slightly smaller visitor centre - losing a large event space which the applicants say would have been rarely used - with a cafe and shop.

The new application to the council stated: "Uncertainty around the future for the fragile warehouse buildings has been compounded by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and its potential long-term affects on tourism.

"Our aim is to achieve the best and most economical use from the conversion of the existing buildings, both in terms of space created and costs involved.

"In order to create a safe, useful and long lasting structure, the design team have created a revised design that integrates new and old more comprehensively than the consented scheme."

Work restarted in January, including rope access work to restore the historic chimney which is being retained on the site.

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