The go-ahead has been given for two whisky warehouses at a Speyside distillery.
Glenfarclas Distillery in Ballindalloch was given approval for the buildings at a meeting of Moray Council’s planning and regulatory services committee on Tuesday.
Members unanimously agreed the planning application offered an acceptable departure from the Moray development plan.
That was based on the grounds that the economic benefit of the warehouses outweighed them being built outwith the Glenfarclas rural group boundary.
Council planning officers had recommended the application’s approval.
Forres Conservative councillor Claire Feaver was uneasy about the location of the buildings within the River Spey special landscape area.
She said: “I’m quite concerned that we seem to be happy to depart from the development plan.
“Is there anywhere else these warehouses can go that is within the boundary and will not impact on the special landscape area?”
Planning officer Richard Smith advised there was no other suitable ground capable of accommodating the buildings, and there already were other warehouses outside the boundary.
‘They gather huge amounts of tourists’
Buckie SNP councillor Sonya Warren gave her backing to the development.
She said: “I think it’s important to support this. Glenfarclas is keen on tourism as well as developing their business, and anything they do is usually very sympathetic to the area.”
Heldon and Laich independent councillor John Cowe added: “I know Glenfarclas Distillery and I used to take my own foreign customers there, walk them in the door and sometimes carry them out.
“It is a traditional business in a rural area, as are almost all distilleries in Moray.
“They gather huge amounts of tourists to them and are a huge bonus to the local economy.”
The warehouses will be sited to the north-east of the distillery, have a footprint of 1,993 sqm and able to store up to 5,000 casks between them.