Family hoping whisky distillery and visitor centre will help deliver prosperity to north Northumberland
The family behind plans for a new whisky distillery and visitor centre have spoken of their joy – and relief – that construction work is now underway.
Eileen and Alan Ferguson have helped to pull together the £10.5million plans for the redevelopment of the former Redpaths yard in Wooler.
Their dream was first unveiled in summer 2018 with planning permission approved in autumn 2019 but little had been heard since then.
“We’re very excited to have reached this stage,” said Eileen. “We have lived and breathed this for seven or eight years so it’s great to see work now getting started.
"It’s been so frustrating waiting to get going. When we first announced our plans for the site we had no idea if was going to take this long.
"Obviously it’s been some time since we demolished the old buildings to get the site levelled and I know people have been wondering what was happening but we’ve been working all the time behind the scenes and Covid has delayed things further.”
It is hoped the distillery and visitor centre will open in late 2022 and eventually create up to 50 full-time new jobs, providing a much-needed economic boost to the area.
"It was very important to us that this would be something the whole community will benefit from,” said Eileen.
“For years there hasn’t really been an investment of this kind in north Northumberland. We’re hoping the jobs it will provide, both directly and indirectly, will provide the opportunity for more people to stay and work in this beautiful part of the country.”
Its location by the A697 is also perfect for pulling in passing trade on one of the main routes between England and Scotland.
"It’s a fantastic site at the gateway to the Cheviots and people will see this phenomenal building springing up over the coming months,” said Eileen. “It’s also be a wet weather attraction that north Northumberland doesn’t really have.”
They want to showcase Northumberland’s unique Anglo-Saxon heritage and hope it will boost tourism, be that day visitors or those coming to stay overnight.
Alan said: “We really feel very honoured that we are able to deliver a project that provides hope for the future. There’s been so much bad news over the past year but we’re getting through it.”