BrewDog hits out at council over land price row

By Nikkie Sutton

- Last updated on GMT

Outrage: BrewDog has slammed Aberdeenshire Council over land price
Outrage: BrewDog has slammed Aberdeenshire Council over land price

Related tags Aberdeen

BrewDog has slammed Aberdeenshire Council after claims the price of land BrewDog had earmarked for development was more than “60 times fair market value”.

BrewDog has said the land, which is behind BrewDog’s brewery in Ellon, was valued at £5,000 per acre by surveyor DM Hall and it submitted plans to the council for a distillery and hotel to be built.

The council demanded £300,000 per acre, more than 60 times the valuation from the independent surveyor, claimed BrewDog.

BrewDog co-founder James Watt said building a “world-class hotel, outstanding restaurant, conference centre and bespoke distillery” would bring £5m in investment into the local area and create more than 80 local jobs.

However, he argued the council have insisted on making it impossible for the brewer to do so.

He said: “Aberdeenshire Council’s main role is to supposedly serve the people of north-east Scotland yet all they have done here is prevent us from creating 80 new local jobs and providing facilities that the Ellon community desperately need.”

Council area with a pro-business approach

Watts explained that due to the council’s “demand”, BrewDog​ will be looking elsewhere to buy land for its expansion.

He added: “We do want to make this happen, however, the implications of Aberdeenshire Council’s decision to put its own interests over those of the people it supposedly serves will mean that, regrettably, we will look to construct the distillery, hotel and restaurant somewhere else.

“We will look for land in a council area with a pro-business approach rather than an anti-investment and anti-job creation we find locally.

“We believe given the [business] climate in the north-east of Scotland, with many people losing their jobs, Aberdeenshire Council should be doing all they can to encourage employment and investment, not actively preventing it.”

The council has responded and said it is disappointed that BrewDog​ has broken the confidentiality agreement during the ongoing discussions.

Chief executive Jim Savege said: "We are a proactive council with a commitment to working with local businesses. We also have a responsibility to ensure best value for public money.”

Intentions is to weaken the council’s position

He said there were ongoing, protracted negotiations with BrewDog​ and the announcement appears to be intended to weaken the council’s position.

He added: "We're disappointed that the company has sought to break confidentiality during what we regarded as live and ongoing discussions to achieve an agreement that is fair to both parties and protects the interests of the local taxpayer, as well as creating opportunities for residents.

"At the heart of this issue is that the land BrewDog wants has been already earmarked for the expansion of the local cemetery.

“We cannot sell land vastly below market value – the figure BrewDog has been asked to meet is what the land is worth right now.

“Its suggested land value is more representative of agricultural value than a site that has permission for an alternative use.

"Assisting local businesses to expand is a key objective of Aberdeenshire Council.

“If BrewDog remains committed to taking forward this development, then we remain committed – as always – to do everything that reasonably can be done to help the company achieve its ambition."

Related topics Beer Property law

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