The company hopes to use a £5 million regional prize it won in the Bank of Scotland’s Corporate £25 million Challenge to use potatoes too small for its luxury crisps to make 3,600 bottles per week.
As part of the plans, waste sunflower oil from Tyrrells’ deep fat fryers would be delivered to the distillery at Rosemaund Farm in Preston Wynne once a week for conversion into bio-diesel, which will be used to run farm vehicles and a generator. A 15.5 metre high distillation tower would also be erected.
But locals who fear that extra traffic, noise and emissions would be generated by the distillery are urging Herefordshire Council to reject Tyrrells’ plans.
A petition signed by 29 people and 21 letters of objection have been submitted to councillors, claiming that the narrow lane linking the farm to the two main roads will struggle to cope with extra lorries.
Felton Parish Council has also expressed concerns about the number of vehicles accessing the site and about the change of use from agricultural to commercial, and Withington Parish Council has objected to the scheme because of concerns about traffic and highway safety.
Members of Herefordshire Council’s northern area planning sub-committee have voted to visit the farm, which is currently being used by the Agricultural Development and Advisory Service as a research and development centre.
Herefordshire Council’s principal tourism officer supports the plans as “an excellent diversification scheme”, according to a spokeswoman.