Overton Parish Council raise concerns over opening hours of Bombay Sapphire distillery

Basingstoke Gazette: The new Bombay Sapphire distillery. Buy this photo » The new Bombay Sapphire distillery.

CONCERNS over the opening hours of the new Bombay Sapphire distillery have been raised by Overton Parish Council.

Bombay Spirits Company Limited has applied to Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council to license the site, including proposed opening hours for the distillery.

The company wants the distillery, which will also be a tourist attraction, to be open from 10am to 2am, Monday to Sunday and has requested a premises licence for late-night refreshments between the hours of 11pm and 2am from Monday to Sunday. Bombay Sapphire has applied for the late night licence to hold corporate events.

Overton parish councillor Brian Langer raised concerns about the impact of the opening hours, especially in the summer. He said: “I think we need to make some stand – I think it’s inappropriate. If they host one wedding per Saturday in the summer, the Sunday morning could be bedlam.”

Cllr Paula Baker, borough councillor for Overton, Laverstoke and Steventon, told the parish council: “Common-sense suggests it is going to get worse. The main road is going to draw in lots of people in the area. There will be noise from people walking back to Overton and Whitchurch, and permitting the time is totally excessive.

“When people leave, particularly if they have been listening to music, you would talk louder than usual and if people have been having some of their produce, probably even louder.”

Construction at the Laverstoke Mill site is yet to be completed with the factory due to open next May. The distillery will give visitors an insight into the history of Bombay Sapphire and how it is made.

A separate “heritage” facility at the distillery will celebrate the history of the mill site, which formerly produced banknote paper for the Bank of England.

When completed, the complex will be home to a café, shop, visitor centre and bar on the banks of the River Test which hopes to attract as many as 100,000 visitors a year.

It is also hoped that the distillery will boost the local economy, creating 35 jobs – 10 in the factory and 25 jobs in the visitor centre.

Caroline Jolly, chairman of Laverstoke and Freefolk parish council, said the company has worked with the parish council for two years.

She said: “We have worked very closely with Bombay Sapphire from the beginning because it is in our best interests. They are not going to be having raves at Bombay Sapphire – just corporate events. It seems to me that they are making a lot of effort to ensure that they are not negatively affecting the village.”

Will Brix, estate manager for Bombay Sapphire, said: “The local area is incredibly important to us as are our residents and partners, and we have been working with them every step of the way.

“We have been in regular consultation with our local council, parish council and the district council, and welcome any feedback from residents as we progress towards opening the Bombay Sapphire distillery at Laverstoke Mill.

“We are primarily a distillery and visitor centre and our ambition is to preserve and renovate an attraction that the local community will be proud of.”

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