SHETLAND Islands Council convener Malcolm Bell says there was never any intention to change the name of Lerwick Town Hall following a mix-up over the wording of two new signs due to be installed at the building’s main entrance.
Lerwick Community Council (LCC) raised its concerns over the plans in November after members questioned why draft templates for the signs called the historic building “Shetland’s Town Hall”.
But the signs now granted planning permission after it was confirmed they will say “Lerwick Town Hall”, with LCC withdrawing its representation.
Contrary to a letter from the council’s planning department to LCC, convener Malcolm Bell said there had never been any intention to alter the building’s name and that the original wording was purely illustrative.
“The formal legal name of the town hall is ‘Lerwick Town Hall’. There has never been and there is no intention to change that although, we do recognise the building now plays a much wider role in Shetland civic life than it originally did,” he said.
“The script, which was contained on the drawing of the sign in the original listed building consent application, was entered by the technician to provide an illustration of how it could look once erected. The writing on the sign, in itself, did not and cannot form part of the application and therefore could neither be approved or rejected or for that matter, objected to.
“The listed building consent application was discussed by LCC as a statutory consultee. However, since the matter was tabled during a meeting, no-one was in attendance to provide context. I subsequently met with the community council chair to clarify the situation.”
In a letter, LCC had said: “Members pointed out that it seems to be grammatically incorrect as Shetland isn’t a town. It was felt that the sign should either read ‘Welcome to Lerwick Town Hall’ or simply ‘Welcome to the Town Hall’.
“Members understood that there had been some attempt to be more inclusive of the rest of Shetland, and to create a better feeling of ownership of the town hall by the whole county, but that this was not the best way to do this. People from all over Shetland refer to the building as the town hall, and there does not appear to be any current lack of clarity over its use or who is welcome there.
“It was pointed out that there are many halls throughout Shetland and these are referred to by the island or village in which they are sited. However, they are for all intents and purposes also Shetland’s halls.”