AN ENTREPRENEUR who wants to open an artisan distillery in South Park has revealed plans for a family visitor centre.

Liquor lover Tom Nicolson wants to build the venue with a tasting room and bar next to his £1m creation, The Oxford Artisan Distillery (TOAD).

The new timber-clad building on the current site of South Park Depot, off Cheney Lane, will be surrounded by courtyards and gardens and house new public toilets.

Mr Nicolson, who won permission to open his gin, whiskey and vodka distillery in October, said the centre would help reveal the farming heritage of the site.

He has submitted a planning application for the centre, designed by Oxford architects Jessop and Cook, to Oxford City Council.

Mr Nicolson said: "Proposed landscaping includes an outdoor kiosk, terraces, courtyards and gardens to sit and enjoy the existing beauty of the park.

"The cafe/restaurant will also provide much needed facilities for the users of South Park."

The cafe is set to include an artisan bread oven to produce loaves using the same local heritage grain as the distillery.

The adjoining tasting room would provide a bar and additional space for TOAD to host distillery tours taking in the Grade II-listed threshing barn and proposed gardens.

The visitor centre's charred timber cladding is inspired by the internal charring of whiskey barrels, while the tasting room will be clad in copper 'to reflect the distillery stills'.

Mr Nicolson added: "TOAD are artfully reusing a brownfield site and the whole development, costing over £1m, will create at 25 new jobs.

"We also aim to make the whole site carbon neutral within five years."

Mr Nicolson is well underway with creating his craft distillery but he needs to open the cafe and toilets as part of his lease agreement with Oxford City Council.

He said last year he planned to sell his spirits at Oxford farmer’s markets and donate 10p from each bottle to Oxfordshire mental health charity Response.

The distillery would open from 8am to 6pm five days a week, and tours would take place from 11am to avoid peak school times.

The restaurant and cafe would be open from 9am to 11pm, seven days a week.

Jessop and Cook said the visitors centre would 'bring a new vibrancy that will improve, while being sympathetic to, the existing virtues of South Park'.

Members of public can see the visitors centre plans online at using reference number 17/00913/FUL.

Oxford City Council is aiming to make a decision in June.