PLANS for a Johnnie Walker global tourism attraction in Edinburgh have been approved by the council’s planning committee.

Formal permission was granted to the project yesterday, which would see the former House of Fraser building at 146 Princes Street transformed into a “global flagship visitor experience”.

The plans are the focal point of a £150 million investment in Scotch whisky tourism by Diageo.

Around 170 full-time equivalent jobs are expected to be created through the new venue, with estimates of £135m being generated in tourism spend for the wider Edinburgh economy.

The application includes plans to restore the clock on the corner of Princes Street and Hope Street – known as the Binns corner.

David Cutter, chairman of Diageo in Scotland, said: “This is another significant step forward in our journey to create an inspiring flagship destination for Johnnie Walker.

“We have had great support for our proposals from local stakeholders and businesses in Edinburgh and we are grateful to everyone who has helped us to get to this stage.

“We will continue to work with the local community as we now progress with construction and with making our plans a reality.”

Cristina Diezhandino, Diageo Global Scotch Whisky director, added: “We are incredibly excited by our plans for the Johnnie Walker visitor experience in Edinburgh where people can explore, discover, and immerse themselves in story of the world’s leading whisky brand.

“We have ambitious plans to make this a truly world-leading attraction, drawing people from the four corners of the globe to Scotland and to give them an unforgettable experience in Scotch whisky and Scottish culture.”

An application for a premises licence for the sale of alcohol is yet to be considered by the city’s licensing board.

Construction work is expected to begin in the early summer.

Glenkinchie, Cardhu, Caol Ila and Clynelish distilleries will be “linked directly” to the Edinburgh venue, the firm said, adding it would “encourage visitors to the capital city to also travel to the country’s extraordinary rural communities”.