PROPOSALS to build a brewery in Falkirk have been thrown into doubt because of the rising costs of gaining planning permission.
Arran Brewery, which wants to set up the facility and a visitors’ centre at Rosebank, a mothballed whisky distillery, said Falkirk council has pushed up the cost of the application from £40,000 to £120,000 as the site has been reclassified as abandoned.
Rosebank’s owner, Scottish Canals, has terminated the lease and Arran Brewery is pulling its equipment out of the site. Gerald Michaluk, Arran’s managing director, said the project would only be revived if the company is fully successful in raising £4 million from its current crowdfunding drive.
“We couldn’t take the risk on our own for planning,” he said, “but investors on these kinds of projects want to see planning in place before they put any money forward. We are in one of those Catch-22s on this site. The project is in real difficulty.”
The £4m crowdfunding round is due to close in mid-April, with proceeds earmarked for a variety of projects. They include plans for another mainland brewery and visitors’ centre at Loch Earn, a development that Michaluk describes as “critical” for the Brodick-based business.
The Brodick brewery is also due for essential upgrades.
Michaluk said Rosebank could be revived, as Scottish Canals has given Arran Brewery a “letter of comfort” stating that the lease can be resumed once funding is in place. But if that is not raised through crowdfunding, “the project is dead”.
The brewery already has a significant investment in Rosebank, including about £70,000 in professional fees and the salaries of two staff working at the site for the past year.
However, the company is willing to look elsewhere for a second mainland brewing site.
“It will be producing one-third of our target, so we have got to have other alternatives,” Michaluk said.