Longer hours allowed at national park business

Wider economic benefits justify varying a condition restricting opening hours at a whisky distillery, shop and bistro in the Lake District National Park, an inspector has decided.

Permitted daily hours of use of the premises were from 9am to 9pm, which the appellant sought to extend to 11pm. A proposal to extend opening hours until 10pm had been dismissed on appeal in 2015. Since then, the appellant had commissioned a traffic survey showing that, on average, 94 vehicles used the road adjacent to the site between 9pm and 11pm. Other evidence indicated that more people visited the premises in the day than the evening and that no other nearby businesses had limits on their hours of operation. The appellant estimated that the proposal would result in a maximum additional 25 people or between six and ten cars travelling to the site per evening, plus one bus or minibus per week.

The inspector recognised that the proposal would lead to increased outdoor activity, more artificial light from headlights and car park lighting and increased noise from traffic, resulting in more noise and disturbance for nearby occupiers after dark. However, she felt that the harm arising to the national park’s dark skies and character in general, and to local residents in particular, would be limited in extent and would be far outweighed by the benefits to the distillery business and the economy of the wider area.

Inspector: Susan Ashworth; Written representations

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