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BrewDog calls time on Inverness bar plan

By Neil MacPhail

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The former Ashers Bakery in Church Street had been expected to provide a home for the BrewDog chain.
The former Ashers Bakery in Church Street had been expected to provide a home for the BrewDog chain.

A TRENDY international pub chain appears to have called time on much-vaunted plans to open in Inverness.

Aberdeenshire-based BrewDog’s venture in the Highland capital looks doomed after two knock-backs from Highland Council.

The firm, which has set the drinks industry alight since it was launched by two pals in Ellon in 2007, was set to move into the former Ashers bakery shop in Church Street. It applied for permission for a change of use and to make alterations to the façade, but was turned down on both occasions.

The Courier asked the company repeatedly what their plans were for Inverness but they refused to comment.

However bakery boss Ali Asher said: “As far as we’re aware BrewDog no longer have any plans to open in Inverness. Their agent simply said it was ‘not to be’.

“It’s surprising as Inverness really does have an amazing amount of city centre projects under way and in the pipeline which would support such a venture.”

On a more positive note, Mr Asher said he was confident the premises would not remain vacant for too long.

He said: “While it’s caused unnecessary delay, we know there is enough interest in the shop and willing participants for it to be trading by next summer.

“We’ve already had significant and serious interest in this outlet.

“I’m not at liberty to name the interested parties at this stage but they have the experience and backing to be taken seriously.

“That part of town has a thriving nightlife and whatever ends up there will make a positive contribution to that.”

Council planners rejected the change of use application because BrewDog had not supplied them with enough information on a pizza oven odour extraction system it intended using.

They did not consider that limited alterations proposed for the frontage of the premises represented an improvement or enhancement to the Inverness Old Town Conservation Area.

There was considerable online criticism of the planners when BrewDog’s plans were rejected, but Mr Asher said: “I feel it only fair to defend Highland Council with regards to the BrewDog application.

“What the planners asked for was standard detail.

“I understand BrewDog did not respond to these points so this left the council planning department with no option but to reject the change of use application.”

Related articles:

Another knock back for BrewDog's plans to come to Inverness

Plans to bring leading bar brand to Inverness in doubt after BrewDog application is rejected

BrewDog eyes up Inverness site for bar

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