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Gin-experience licence bid for distillery in King's Lynn

An award-winning gin company’s bid for a premises licence at its Lynn site will go before councillors next week.

Whatahoot Ltd, which scooped the Innovation prize at the Mayor’s Business Awards in March, wants to develop a gin-experience lounge and retail outlet at its distillery in King Street.

But, despite the support of several senior borough councillors, opponents say the scheme is inappropriate for the area and fear that a licence could be misinterpreted by any future owners.

7-9 King Street, King's Lynn
7-9 King Street, King's Lynn

The application, which is due to be considered at a West Norfolk Council licensing hearing next Tuesday, August 4, seeks a licence which would allow them to sell alcohol until 11pm each day.

The company said: “The ground floor will be used for distilling of alcoholic drinks with a retail outlet. Upstairs will be a purpose built Gin Experience lounge.”

The application is not being opposed by any responsible authorities, including borough council departments, the police or Trading Standards.

But a majority of the near 40 letters which have been sent to the council on the application are raising objections to the proposal.

Julian Litten, chairman of the St Margaret’s and St Nicholas Ward Forum, said his group was not opposed to the idea at the site, even while questioning whether it was appropriate for the area.

He said: “At present, the majority of properties are residential and occupants, who are used to a degree of serenity, do not relish the prospect of the sale of alcohol for such long periods.

“The borough council is intent upon ‘improving town centre living’and the attractive nature of streets such as King Street is certainly drawing people to relocate to the vicinity.

“However, if the number of drinking establishments continues to increase without any proper controls, this intention is unlikely to succeed.”

Ward councillor Francis Bone called for conditions to be attached to any licence to protect residents.

But three members of the council’s ruling cabinet have joined business leaders and others in backing the plan.

Council leader Brian Long said: “New business of this type will provide an attractive tourist offer for King’s Lynn and is desperately needed to help invigorate the town centre post-Covid.

The applicants’ business has been expanding over the last two years and this facility will give both a retail outlet for their product and a much needed visitor experience, hopefully bringing many new visitors to the town.

“I don’t believe that any of the concerns that would normally be associated with a licenced premises will be relevant to what is in effect a quality tourist attraction.”

The meeting will be broadcast on the council’s YouTube channel.

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