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Tomatin takes legal action against hotel over name

Highland distillery Tomatin has opposed a local company’s move to name a £12 million (US$15m) hotel development after its namesake Scottish village.

An artist’s impression of The Tomatin Trading Company’s hotel development

The Tomatin Trading Company gained planning approval from the Highland Council in November 2018 for the build of a multi-million-pound hotel and food/retail village in Tomatin.

Entrepreneur William Frame planned to name the development The Tomatin Trading Company. However, it has faced opposition from Scotch whisky producer Tomatin Distillery, which has challenged the firm’s proposed branding for the new site.

“As engaged members of our local community, we wholeheartedly welcome and support this or any development that is going to benefit the area,” said Stephen Bremner, managing director of Tomatin Distillery.

“We do, however, object to the development’s proposed branding, which, we believe, takes unfair advantage of our reputation and we have repeatedly asked Mr Frame to reconsider.

“Tomatin Distillery has a rich heritage spanning many generations. We firmly believe we must protect our valuable brand, which is inherently associated with our distillery and our whisky as a result of over 120 years of dedicated craftsmanship.”

Frame said that he had “already invested heavily” in the site’s “distinct identity”.

‘Huge disappointment’

“It is a huge disappointment to say the least, to find that this issue has now been taken to Scotland’s supreme civil court, the Court of Session,” said Frame. “We have kept the distillery fully informed of our plans from the very start, and had planned to have their whiskies as a showcase in our retail shop and bar.”

“I feel this should wholeheartedly be about helping and promoting the local community, promoting the village of Tomatin, giving young people jobs that are sustainable and getting young people back into the Highlands.

“There is no attempt or intention to associate ourselves with the distillery, and no one I have spoken to considers that there would be any confusion about this.”

Frame claimed that “numerous businesses in the past here have referenced the name Tomatin”, and said that “if this development was in Aviemore or Inverness I don’t think there would be a problem naming the Trading Company after the town”.

The entrepreneur planned to begin construction work on the site, which will house 99 bedrooms and a 200-seater restaurant, in spring 2020. The development is set to bring more than 50 jobs to the local area.

Frame said that the project did not receive any public objections during last year’s planning process.

He added: “We can only hope that the distillery re-assesses the public mood and talks to us constructively to come up with a solution which enables us to continue to use the name The Tomatin Trading Company.”

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