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Lerwick’s waterfront nominated

The waterfront walkway wending past Mareel towards the Shetland Museum and Archives. Photo John Carolan

LERWICK’S regenerated waterfront with its museum, cinema and business park has been shortlisted as one of Scotland’s Best Places by the Royal Town Planning Institute to mark their 100th anniversary.

Alongside such historic and dramatic locations as Edinburgh’s Royal Mile and Loch Lomond, it was one of 10 places chosen from 55 public nominations for the extremely prestigious award.

The Lerwick waterfront has been transformed over the past decade from an area of derelict industrial buildings to an array of large buildings, two of which have won multiple awards – the Shetland Museum and Archives and the cinema, music and arts complex Mareel.

The area also now includes the new Shetland Islands Council headquarters, the North Ness Business Park, the Shetland Amenity Trust offices in a refurbished ice factory and a coastal walkway.

Five years ago before Mareel and the SIC HQ was built, the regeneration project was overall winner at the Scottish Award for Quality in Planning in 2008.

The view from the museum towards Mareel. Photo John Carolan

The 10 RTPI finalists were chosen by an expert panel from the many places nominated by members of the public and Scottish organisations.

There will now be an online public vote in June to choose Scotland’s top three places.

SIC planning executive manager Iain McDiarmid said it had been exciting to be involved in a project designed to create an extension to the town centre with a wide range of cultural and commercial activities and amenities.

“When I first came here in 1998 the place was just full of old and derelict bits of industrial development. I remember walking along the front and what a state it was in,” he said.

“In that time we have gone from a pretty run down and unused bit of waterfront to something which offers entertainment, culture, a restaurant, cafes and offices.

“For a development of that size to happen in a place as small as Lerwick is pretty impressive.”

The top ten shortlisted places in alphabetical order are Crown Street, The Gorbals in Glasgow; Dundee waterfront; East Kilbride; Forth and Clyde Canal; Lerwick waterfront; Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park; Glasgow’s Merchant City; Stirling’s Raploch; Edinburgh’s Royal Mile and Holyrood; and the West Highland Way.

People can vote here.