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Tingwall agricultural museum back on the agenda

Plans for the proposed museum.

A PROPOSAL to build a new agricultural museum in Tingwall is back on the agenda after volunteers behind the project applied for planning permission in a bid to help them secure much needed funding.

Plans have been submitted to build a steel frame for the museum behind the Tingwall primary school, along with 18 parking spaces.

A Tingwall agriculture museum has been mooted for some years, but a lack of funding has stopped the project ever coming to fruition.

Tingwall Agricultural Museum Steering Group chairman Drew Anderson said the new proposal is a stripped-back and more affordable version of the original plans, which came with a price tag of over £1 million.

One potential funder could be the Shetland LEADER project, which provides money via the European Union for rural development and had previously put money towards a feasibility study.

“The initial project was out of reach. It was impossible,” Anderson admitted.

“We’ve redesigned the thing and are going for a more basic building. We were advised by the funders that we’d stand a better chance of getting money should we have planning permission, so that’s why we’ve gone down this route.

“We can only go seeking funding should we receive planning permission.”

Back in 2013 the idea was mothballed in the hope that the museum project could be revived in the future.

The steering group was previously formed to bring the old museum at Veensgarth back to public display in a purpose-built facility.

The original museum was managed by Jean Sandison and her family, who had collected many agricultural artefacts ranging from hand tools and machinery to household implements.

The museum had to close due to the family’s work commitments on the croft.

It was previously hoped that the museum could also house the Brindister tractor collection, but it has “more or less been dispersed” after the project was put on hold.

Anderson said new plans have removed extra facilities like education rooms in favour of a more basic building.

“The actual display area will probably be roughly the same as what we had originally,” he said.

“The original plans had a learning room for schoolchildren, but it was going to cost far, far too much. It would be more of just a display area.”

It is thought that the proposals are unlikely to experience many difficulties in going through the planning process.

But Anderson said the cost of developing the site is not expected to be cheap.

“The next step is to get a cost for developing the site, which could be quite substantial, because it’s not an easy site to develop,” he said.