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No return to North Ness soon

The SIC moved its staff out of the White House at the end of September - Photo: Andrew Gibson/Millgaet Media
The SIC headquarters at 8 North Ness were evacuated in September 2016.

SHETLAND Islands Council staff will not be returning to the local authority’s HQ in Lerwick until next year at the earliest, as the future of the building remains unclear.

There is no timetable yet in place for employees to return to the £7.3 million building at 8 North Ness, known locally as the White House, following its evacuation in September after concerns were raised over its structural integrity.

Two hundred staff were relocated to a number of other council premises in Lerwick to allow surveys of the Shetland Leasing and Property-owned building to take place.

Temporary “propping” was put in place once the staff left as concerns were raised over the flooring, despite the building only being four years old.

Christine Ferguson, the council’s director of corporate services, confirmed this week on that talks were still ongoing over resolving the situation.

Councillors, however, have been left in the dark over the fate of the building, with its immediate future still unclear.

“We are still in discussions regarding the issues with the accommodation at 8 North Ness. We have no timescale as yet for returning to the building and are keeping our existing temporary arrangements under constant review,” Ferguson said.

“Our concern at this time is to minimise the disruption to our services to the community and, with that in mind, it is unlikely that we will be returning to 8 North Ness before the end of the year.”