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Quoys complete

Grodians, part of the final phase of Quoys, the largest scheme completed by Hjaltland Housing Association. Pic. Billy Fox

HJALTLAND Housing Association has completed its largest ever scheme with 117 houses that extend the town of Lerwick and help to meet the growing demand for social housing in the isles.

The £14.4 million scheme at Quoys has taken seven years to complete over three phases that include 13 sites for private house builders and a new Baptist church.

The building work was carried out by local firm E&H Building Contractors, while the third phase was designed by Lerwick-based Richard Gibson Architects to create a strong sense of community. The first two phases were designed by Dundee architects Baxter, Clark & Paul.

Cutting the ribbon on Quoys Phase Three on Friday: (from left) Drewie Manson - E & H Builders, Adrian Wishart - Richard Gibson Architects, Paul Leask - Hjaltland Housing Association, Bobby Elphinstone - E & H Builders, Jeff Goddard - Hjaltland Housing Association, Bryan Leask - Hjaltland Housing Association. Pic. Billy Fox

The houses and flats are designed for households of up to seven people with a tree planting scheme underway and contract to spruce up the area with Shetland Amenity Trust.

Association property services manager Bryan Leask said they had paid as much attention to the design of the common areas as the buildings, saying they were trying to “build communities rather than housing schemes”, with a mix of private and shared owners, tenants and disabled people.

Mr Leask added that there was no time for them to sit on their laurels. “While it is fantastic to be able to offer those people on the waiting list and those registered as homeless an opportunity of a new home, it is obvious that there is still a large unmet demand that must be tackled.

Former HHA chairman Tom Stove, who cut the first sod at Quoys back in 2003, with Johan Walker, whose family owned the land. Here they set a plant in the scheme's final phase. Pic. Billy Fox

“When we advertise properties in Lerwick we regularly have almost 100 applicants put their names forward for consideration.”

Lead architect Adrian Wishart added that he was very pleased with the final design.

“It seems to be working well, with the compact street pattern and varied road colours encouraging pedestrian use of the road as much as vehicles.  It was hoped that it would be an area where folk could mingle and children could play and it appears to be working well,” he said.

The homes are all attached to Lerwick’s district heating scheme, and the housing association has built an extra pump to allow other houses in the Sound area of Lerwick to connect to the scheme.

The association has also bought the former Baptist church in central Lerwick in exchange for building a new kirk in the Quoys scheme, and intend to convert this into flats.

They received £9.2 million from the Scottish government towards the housing project.