Moray councillors have today approved a community asset transfer which will allow the acquisition of several council-owned buildings by a charity working to breathe new life into the remote Cabrach landscape.
The Cabrach Trust currently leases the Acorn Centre – formerly the Lower Cabrach Primary School and used as a community facility – along with the disused Old Cabrach Hall and former schoolhouse.
The buildings and surrounding land are key to the overall development plans and the Community Asset Transfer (CAT) which was approved by the Policy & Resources Committee today, will now see the site transferring to the Trust’s ownership.
The Acorn Centre will be repurposed for use as bonded warehouse for the distillery, while the Old Cabrach Hall will be used as a much-needed community centre and training venue.
The Cabrach Trust also plans to turn the existing Inverharroch Farm, located in the lower Cabrach, into an authentic distillery operating on historical methods, as well as a visitor heritage centre, café and gift shop.
Executive director Sue Savege said: “We are extremely grateful to Moray Council for its ongoing support and are delighted that the CAT has been approved by councillors.
“Our proposals for the establishment of a distillery, heritage and training centre located at Inverharroch Farm and the Acorn Centre site will be a major contributor to the local economy, with income derived from a sustainable combination of sale of Cabrach whisky, distillery tours, café and shop sales, events, courses and accommodation.
“The development will be a vibrant, successful, energetic space, bringing new people to the area, raising the morale of the local communities and contributing to a sustainable future for the people of the Cabrach.
“Sympathetic conversion plans which take into account environmental, social and economic needs will ensure that the buildings will have a sustainable future and remain a central part of the fabric of Cabrach life.”
Patti Nelson, Chair of the Cabrach Community Association says, “Local community have been campaigning for many years to ensure that these buildings, which mean so much to local people, have a sustainable future at the heart of the community. We are really pleased with this outcome and Moray Council’s decision, we can’t thank them enough for all of their support over the years.
Funding for the refurbishment work of the transferred buildings will come from a mix of grants and trust funds and subject to planning consent, work on the conversion and refurbishment will begin in the autumn.