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Testing of vacant SIC offices to be conducted

Shetland Islands Council's HQ at the North Ness.

SCAFFOLDING is to go up around Shetland Islands Council’s HQ at the North Ness ahead of “essential load testing” to be conducted early in the new year.

The Lerwick building has been vacant for 15 months after owners SLAP informed the local authority that it would have to vacate the offices due to concerns about its structure.

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The £7.3 million office block is owned by SLAP, the property arm of Shetland Charitable Trust, but the council is the property manager.

The two organisations’ legal teams have been in dispute since over responsibility for resolving sagging floors in premises that were only completed in April 2012.

Around 200 council staff were moved out of the building in September 2016 and are now working from a variety of SIC-owned premises throughout Lerwick. The local authority continues to pay rent of around £500,000 a year as part of its lease agreement with SLAP.

A council statement said: “Essential load testing on 8 North Ness is due to begin on 8 January, and is expected to take around 10 days to complete.

“Preparatory work is underway onsite, with the test area being cleared and scaffolding due to be installed over the next few days.

“Access to the building is restricted until further notice, and members of the public using the car parks at the building are asked to be aware of the ongoing works.”

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