Locals thwart billionaire’s plans for Britain’s biggest winery
Ambitious plans to build Britain’s largest winery have been blocked by local councillors, who were concerned about the volume of traffic from visitors.
A decision on whether to back plans for the strikingly designed Kentish Wine Vault was deferred by councillors after three hours of deliberation, Wine-Searcher reports, after which representatives for Medway, Kent, voted unanimously not to support the project.
We reported news of the design plans for the winery, drawn up by Foster and Partners, earlier this summer.
The Kentish Wine Vault looked set to become the largest single wine estate in the UK at that time, with the project including a restaurant, tasting room and cafe.
The proposed site for the Kentish Wine Vault was in a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The design is for Vineyard Farms, the English winemaking business backed by Mark Dixon of Château Berne in Provence, who made his fortune from serviced office firm Regus, and who has stated his intention to become the largest wine producer in the UK.
Councillor for the village of Cuxton Matt Fearn described the project as, “a large commercial mixed-use development masquerading as agricultural [wine production] by trying to meet exceptional criteria required for construction in a protected area”.
Dixon already has a productive wine business in the UK, with Sedlescombe – the newly enlarged biodynamic producer in East Sussex – although he previously put his other wine estate, Kingscote Wine Estate in West Sussex, up for sale.
He has plans to become the single largest wine producer in the United Kingdom.
Foster and Partners recently created a futuristic, science-fiction-like winery for Saint-Émilion producer Le Dôme. You can find out more here.