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Business park too costly

HIE Shetland manager Rachel Hunter.

PLANS for a potential business park in Lerwick dedicated to industries such as food and drink have been shelved due to costs.

Consultants completed a study on behalf of Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) last year on creating a development on a greenfield area next to the Staney Hill Industrial Estate.

But the prospective cost of overhauling the site meant that the organisation has decided to back out of taking the idea further.

Shetland manager Rachel Hunter, however, said HIE is continuing to look at other industrial and business developments in Lerwick.

HIE sought an architect to create a masterplan for the site, which would have potentially included six to eight units.

The business park could also have included the “technology, engineering and creative industries”.

Hunter said the particular site was “challenging” and would have been too costly to prepare for development.

“The main reason for HIE not developing that site at this particular time is down to the significant costs associated with the groundworks and drainage, as well at the costs associated with the installation of utilities infrastructure and road upgrades,” she said.

“We continue to work with partners to investigate more cost-effective options for industrial and business development around Lerwick.”

Shetland Food and Drink chairwoman Marian Armitage said the sector appreciates the ongoing support of HIE.

“For our members, particularly those businesses that are emerging or want to scale up, it would have been an asset,” she said.

“I think what is just as important is for food and drink producers to have the continued support and expertise from HIE available to all – we very much value that.”