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Viewforth gets planning consent

A PLANNING application to change the use of the former Viewforth care home in Lerwick to accommodation for workers has been approved over one year after it began housing contractors.

A second retrospective application was submitted by Shetland FM in March after Shetland Islands Council refused to grant planning permission largely on car parking and traffic management grounds.

It is currently being used to house construction staff working on the new Anderson High School development for the council.

The Burgh Road building proved controversial last year when it emerged the local authority leased the former care home to the logistics company despite no planning permission actually being in place for use as a hostel.

Workers had been using Viewforth House for two months before the first retrospective application was submitted.

Councillor Billy Fox ultimately resigned as the council’s deputy leader over concerns that the local authority wasn’t properly adhering to planning procedures.

Shetland FM executive chairman Frank Strang said he was happy to see the building finally receive approval for change of use.

“We’re pleased that we have been granted planning consent for Viewforth House, allowing us to continue to provide much-needed accommodation and catering to contractors working on the new Anderson High School project and on other projects as they arise,” he said.

The building, which can accommodate a maximum of 50 beds, was vacated in February 2015 before being leased to Shetland FM.