RETROSPECTIVE plans for a bespoke gin distillery and bar/restaurant at a conservation area guest house in Britain’s smallest city have been turned down after concerns of the dangers from the distilling process.
Pembrokeshire Coast National Park planners, at their October 25 meeting, considered an application by Mr N Walsh for a change of use of the exiting guest house at St Davids Distillery, Restaurant & Rooms, 11-13 Nun Street, St Davids to include the bar/restaurant and distillery.
The plans for the Grade II-listed property had drawn 23 responses of concern, including intensification of use from the bar, impacts on local amenity, and Health and Safety concerns about the installation of a still and the use of ethanol, with fears of a fire and explosion risk.
The scheme – supported by St David’s City Council – was partly retrospective as the gin still has been installed, but is not currently in use, in the distillery sited below existing bedrooms at the guesthouse.
The applicant hopes the proposed gin distillery element would involve events such as “make your own spirit” and “G and Afternoon Tea”.
The application, part of the city’s Cathedral Villas listed terrace, within its conservation area, was recommended for refusal by planners on the basis of “harm being caused to residential amenity by virtue of the intensification of uses within the premises,” and “The proposed layout does not adequately address Health and Safety Concerns in proposing residential accommodation above the distilling room.”
Speaking on behalf of concerned Nun Street residents, planning consultant Sophie Anderton said the proposals would be “an overall intensification of use,” which would increase noise, adding: “It really does form part of the setting to the Cathedral that should be protected.”
She described the still as “a low risk, but high-impact proposal” in the event of anything going wrong.
Cllr Di Clements, who moved refusal of the application, stressed she didn’t want to stop business development, but stressed it needed to be in appropriate locations.
Cllr Simon Hancock agreed: “I’m sure this would have a very, very serious impact on the residents, it is not the right location for a distillery, that is very, very clear cut.”
Councillor Rhys Jordan said he was reluctantly supporting refusal: “The idea in theory is a fantastic idea, just not quite right here. I hope they rethink things and come back with a possible solution.”
The scheme, along with a related listed building consent application, was refused by 14 votes to two.