Chivas to launch second attempt for controversial 24/7 Highland whisky centre

The Astronomer Royal for Scotland has blasted a global whisky company after it emerged it intends resubmitting its application to build a controversial ‘24/7’ visitor centre and a bothy experience in the world’s most northerly gold-tier status International Dark Sky Park in the Cairngorms.

Dark skies are a rare and important natural resource. Picture: TSPL

Chivas Brothers, whose whiskies include The Glenlivet and Chivas Regal, has revealed it will make a second attempt to get the project under way despite attracting strong criticism from world-class astronomers and local residents.

Earlier this week the company issued a statement saying it had withdrawn the application which it had submitted to the Cairngorms National Park Authority, saying it was aware of “some comments from local neighbours” and after “taking very seriously” concerns raised by neighbours.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

However, the company has now admitted it has not given up on the project near The Glenlivet Distillery.

The company’s latest statement says: “After consultation with all parties, we’d like to look at resubmitting 
our application taking into consideration the concerns raised.”

Professor John Brown, OBE, who has spoken out about the proposals and officially opened the Dark Sky Park last November, said: “Chivas Brothers’ latest response makes no mention of the national obscenity of potentially destroying a national treasure of a Dark Sky Park.

“This is a major international issue of ruining something of tremendous renown which people spent five years creating.”

Professor Brown said he had twice offered to help Chivas find an alternative location in the Highlands for the visitor centre.

The Arizona-based International Dark Sky Association awarded the gold status after being assured there was no habitation or likely to be habitation at the darkest part of the Dark Sky Park.

Chivas Brothers refused to respond to questions on whether it would choose another location for the visitor centre.

The company also refused to say why it had rejected Prof Brown’s offers of help.

A spokesman for Chivas Brothers said: “We’ll make any re-submission following continued dialogue with all concerned parties.”