A KIOSK and garden serving gin made in a distillery next door will be built on the edge of South Park.

The proposals for a restaurant with an outdoor area for park users and gin drinkers were narrowly approved by Oxford City councillors earlier this week.

The Oxford Artisan Distillery (TOAD) was built on the former council depot site in Cheney Lane in Headington earlier this year but plans for a visitor centre, restaurant, garden and kiosk were withdrawn.

But the scheme now been approved and a shuttle bus could soon be taking people from the city centre for a tour of the distillery and tipple of gin afterwards.

Councillors had raised concerns over the loss of public park space and fears the close proximity of Cheney School would promote anti-social behaviour.

It would also bring a Grade II listed barn back into use, which won the support of councillor Colin Cook.

He told the meeting: "Preserving listed buildings is a good thing, this plan is being brought forward to make this site work.

"It also has the tacit support of Oxford Preservation Trust."

"I don't think gin is an entry level drink for Oxford's teenagers and any fears over children at nearby schools drinking there are over the top.

"It's a great opportunity to bring this building back to life."

Park users will be able to sit outside in the garden area – and use the toilet facilities – without buying anything.

The kiosk will be open until 10.30pm each night serving gin and other alcoholic drinks.

A further licensing application would need to be submitted but anti-social behaviour were further allayed by re-assurances the police would take care of the issue.

The city council's west area planning committee voted in favour of the plans by a five votes to four.

Councillor Alex Hollingsworth, who voted against, said: "It is quite a finely balanced issue, it does bring the building back into use and recall the agricultural history of the site.

"But planning policy says permission should not be given if there is a loss of public open space, such as a park."

Oxford Preservation Trust (OPT) hold a legal covenant of the site which prohibits the sale and production of alcohol on it, and had objections about the cafe not being linked to the park.

But an agreement has now been reached between the trust and TOAD to make the centre available to park users, which has led to the covenant being dropped.