Plans for a micro-distillery producing small-batch spirits in a Kent village have been resubmitted after further consultation with neighbours.
The proposal for the Pleasant Land Distillery would see an agricultural storage building at a vineyard in East Brabourne, near Ashford, become home to a facility for the production of alcohol.
Several objections have been raised by neighbours, who believe it is inappropriate for The Magnum Building in The Street to be converted in this manner.
They argue the business is out of place for the rural setting and more suitable premises could be found in Ashford.
But the plans have been backed by entrepreneur Josh De Haan, whose business empire includes the Rocksalt restaurant in Folkestone and a string of pubs across east Kent including the Five Bells Inn in East Brabourne.
Commenting on the latest planning application, he said: "As the owner/operator of the Five Bells Pub, but also a local resident, I would like to register my full support for this application.
"To have a small-scale distillery in the village will help support the rural community, not only for job creation but also local farmers.
"We are massive supporters of local produce. To have a distillery on our doorstep would be fantastic and I would certainly want to stock their products across the group."
The project is the work of father-and-son team Charles and Seb Barnick, who plan to use local produce in the production of their drinks.
Seb said: "We are proud to announce our submission for a micro-distillery, producing single pot still grain whisky made with local heritage grain varieties such as Old Kent Red wheat.
"We will be using grain from the neighbouring farms and the spent grain will be used by local farmers for animal feed. In this way, we will create a traditional rural, circular economy with a naturally low carbon footprint.
"We also intend to release limited volumes of fruit spirits from heritage Kentish fruits and a small batch gin.
"Our longer-term vision is to finish our whisky in the casks used to mature the local fruit spirits."
The application for the change of use says it is expected the factory could have a permanent staff of five by 2023, with operating hours between 9am and 5pm from Monday to Friday.
Previously Ashford Borough Council granted permission for the site to be used as a viticulture – the study of grape cultivation – education centre for Hadlow College, but restructuring at the college led to this plan being dropped.
Subsequently the green light was given in 2019 for the erection of the vineyard storage building which is now earmarked for conversion.
The site is within the North Downs AONB, on the northern side of The Street adjacent to Court Lodge, a Grade II-listed building.