DERELICT barns in Headington may soon be converted into an an artisan distillery, complete with a restaurant, tasting room and casks of bespoke brews.

The Oxford Artisan Distillery (TOAD) is hoping to open a small-batch distillery, which will craft artisan spirits, at South Park Depot off Cheney Lane and say the proposed development is a positive use of the redundant site.

Agents for the project at Jessop & Cook Architects said they believed restoring the buildings which previously made up a working farm and installing a distillery in them would be more in keeping with the original agricultural function that the current park depot use.

In a planning application to Oxford City Council, agent Daniel Wadsworth said: "Currently the site is significantly under-utilised and the buildings on the site are falling into disrepair; the depot is surplus to the requirements of Oxford City Council.

"The change of use of the site would mean that its existing attributes could be enhanced and enjoyed in multiple facets.

"Rather than being a disused depot, housing a heritage building that is unavailable to the public and falling into disrepair, the change of use would allow potential for the site to be restored and enhanced into an attraction for local residents and tourists, who will be able to enjoy the history of the site and the new amenities it will provide."

The application has divided residents, with some saying the land should be utilised to provide more housing in Oxford and others saying they think it would be a boon to the local economy.

Civic society member Tony Turton said he thought the scheme seemed positive but was concerned about the historical nature of the buildings.

He said: "In principal it sounds like a really good idea but I gather this is a grade-II listed building, which would mean permission would be needed to change its use.

"Overall though, it sounds really good, and I would quite like them to take up my campaign to give discounts to residents because I'm sure we would all benefit from some of the produce."

The application shows plans for a shuttle service to be operated from the site to the Botanic Gardens and a number of key hotels in and around the city to ensure the use of private vehicles is kept to a minimum and to provide links with some of the existing tourist locations.

The distillery would be 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.

Residents can see the full plans online at using reference number 16/01267/FUL.

The council is planning to make a final decision on the scheme by July 20.