A global whisky giant has bowed down to pressure and withdrawn its application to build an alcohol-based “24/7” visitor centre and a bothy experience in the world’s most northerly gold-tier status International Dark Sky Park in the Cairngorms.
The Scotsman highlighted the objections, led by Professor John Brown, the Astronomer Royal for Scotland, against the project planned by Chivas Brothers, whose whiskies include The Glenlivet and Chivas Regal.
An insider said Chivas were “totally aghast” at the level of anger they had stirred up.
Objections from a range of local people, businesses and scientists, including Prof Brown and Chris Lintott, astrophysicist and presenter of the BBC’s The Sky At Night, lodged with the Cairngorms National Parks Authority, centred round the damage such a project, proposed for the darkest part of the Dark Sky Park, would cause including light pollution, traffic and disruption to the site.
Prof Brown, who officially opened the Dark Sky Park in Tomintoul and Glenlivet last November, said: “I am very relieved to hear Chivas have withdrawn their application. I sincerely hope they do not decide to resubmit another application with minor variations.
“Their withdrawal shows the strength of feeling against it in the Cairngorms. People’s livelihoods and quality of life depend on the environment.
Prof Brown added: “There was a slight feeling of despair because distilleries in Scotland have so much clout in terms of jobs and future employment. So well done to everyone who put in their objections.”
Prof Brown had offered to suggest a more suitable spot in the Scotland for the centre.
Cairngorms National Park Authority, who were dealing with the planning application, confirmed Chivas Brothers have withdrawn their application.
A Chivas Brothers spokesman said: “We are aware of some comments from local residents regarding our planning application for a tasting bothy near The Glenlivet Distillery.
“We take all concerns voiced by our neighbours very seriously and for that reason we have withdrawn our current application.”