Willow Court distillery project hits a hurdle

Five councillors at the table at the start of last night’s meeting.
Another councillor arrived after this photo was taken.

A LACK of councillors prevented consideration of a rum distillery project at last night’s Derwent Valley Council meeting.

Meeting at Lachlan, the council found itself without the necessary numbers to decide on the distillery proposed for the Willow Court historic site.

Planning officer Linda Graham had recommended conditional approval of the first stage of the New Norfolk Distillery proposal, which would see a 300L still installed in a section of the former Alonnah House/Ward A, along with a sales area and tasting bar.

Part of the audience at the meeting.

But with Cr Luke Browning ill and Cr Paul Belcher on leave, and councillors Anne Salt and Rachel Power leaving the room after declaring conflicts of interest in the project, the council was temporarily without a quorum.

General manager Greg Winton said the council, acting as a planning authority, needed five councillors in the room to be able to consider the item.

He said council officers would now ask the developers, local firm Crusader Homes, for an extension of time to allow the matter to be deferred to next month’s meeting. Without that consent, the Land Use Planning Act would deem the application to have been refused, he said.

The depleted public gallery after the
distillery agenda item was abandoned.

Mayor Ben Shaw apologised to the large crowd present, acknowledging that most of them were there to hear the distillery discussion.

The planner’s report noted that during the period of public comment, 54 objections had been received and 31 letters of support. The distillery is proposed to be established adjacent to the Agrarian Kitchen Eatery.

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