SHETLAND’S newest and biggest hotel opened its doors on Tuesday creating 43 jobs in the north mainland township of Brae.
The 100 bedroom Moorfield Hotel was built by Northern Ireland firm BDL Management, primarily to accommodate workers building the £800 million gas plant for French oil giant Total.
The oil company has promised to fill all the beds for the first year and fill at least 80 per cent of them for the next four years.
However local people have questioned where the 100 people running the gas plant once it is built will stay, and whether they will put pressure on house prices and the council house waiting list.
BDL said the £6.5 million hotel would provide a boost for the local community with a restaurant serving teas, coffees and freshly prepared meals and afternoon teas.
It also has a fully equipped gym and two conferencing suites.
Hotel general manager Ailsa Sangster added: “Although Total will be our main customers the facilities are open to local residents, including our restaurant, bar and gym.
“We envisage the hotel becoming a key part of the community and we look forward to welcoming the people of Shetland through our doors.”
She pointed out that 95 per cent of the hotel’s suppliers were from Shetland and its public areas featured work by local photographers.
Local councillor Andrea Manson, who runs the St Magnus Bay Hotel, in Hillswick, said she welcomed the new hotel and the fact it had created so many jobs for local people.
However she said she was concerned where the new influx of oil workers were going to stay long term.
“I think it’s a shame they have not done what BP did in the 1970s where they built houses and encouraged people who were working there to become part of the community,” she said.
“It’s a fine looking building though it’s a shame it’s so close to the council estate, but my worry is what effect it will have on the housing waiting list and house prices.
“If they expect all these people running the gas plant to be housed it could grossly inflate house prices in the area putting them out of reach of young people.”
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