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Planning round up

Green light for Veensgarth road

THE FIGHT to protect a stand of wych elm trees over 100 years old was lost at Shetland Islands Council’s planning committee on Wednesday.

Despite 11 letters of objection and a 235 signature petition opposing the axing of the 10 trees and demolition of a small section of 150 year old drystane dyke around C-listed Veensgarth House, in Tingwall, councillors approved plans for a new section of road.

Developer Cecil Eunson applied for the road to be widened to 3.5 metres with a 1.5 metre verge to meet planning conditions to build two new houses in the area.

However councillor Cecil Smith, one of just two who opposed the move, said he thought this was the thin end of the wedge and would lead to more houses being built.

The planning authority has insisted that a full arboricultural method statement and tree protection plan is in place before the new road goes ahead, and any damaged trees are replaced.

Forty houses for Gott

HJALTLAND Housing Association was cleared to go ahead with plans to build 40 houses behind The Strand, in Tingwall, to help meet the growing demand for social housing in the area.

The development marks a breakthrough for the association, which has had two major housing developments in the area blocked in recent years largely due to them being planned on good agricultural land.

The Tingwall development is not without objectors, including the community council and residents in the 15 year old privately-owned Strand estate, which these new properties will match with their pastel coloured timber walls in various hues.

Councillors are keen to see social housing going up on the outskirts of Lerwick where demand is high, and the council itself has pledged to match fund any government investment in the scheme.

However with Hjaltland looking for £3.5 million from Scotland’s £20 million pot for new social housing, questions still remain whether this project will go ahead.

Permission for pipe site

COUNCILLORS granted retrospective permission to oil company Total to create a lay down area for pipes and fittings for their £2.5 billion Laggan-Tormore gas development west of Shetland.

Total’s application involved changing the use of a 250 by 40 strip of concreted land adjacent to Scatsta airport that was previously used for drying peat in the late 1980s.

The company will use the site to store and weld pipes, and have agreed to fence it off to protect the rare birds such as whimbrel and red throated diver, along with the common blue damselfly, that live in the area.

Permission was granted until 2014 when the gas plant and its associated pipeline should be completed and production will have started.

Conservation grant doubled

SHETLAND Islands Council has agreed to double its usual conservation grant to allow menswear shop JR White & Co to re-roof the B-listed 18th century building with original Scotch slate.

The £10,000 grant, twice the normal £5,000 grant, will go towards the £38,380 cost of re-covering the roof, installing roof lights and replacing two sash and case windows.

As a result of the decision the council’s £100,000 conservation grant fund for 2011/12 has just £16,305 left to pay out this financial year.

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