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Community council objects to housing development

LERWICK Community Council has “reluctantly” objected to a private housing development in North Road due to concerns over sufficient car parking in the area.

Thulium Leisure, company owned by two DITT directors, proposes to convert the upper floor of an existing garage workshop at 72 North Road into four two-bedroom maisonettes.

A car parking study commissioned by the developer concluded that sufficient on-road car parking of six spaces would be available in the area to allow the development to go ahead.

However, Shetland Islands Council’s road department expressed doubts over the findings of the study.

During Monday’s meeting, Lerwick north councillor John Fraser moved to object to the application.

Members followed his move somewhat hesitantly; questioning the reliability of the two studies as well as the policy of providing 1.5 car parking spaces per unit for town developments when cycling and walking should be encouraged.

Councillor Amanda Westlake said she felt she needed more information and described the two reports as “inconclusive”.

The community council also felt that car parking could be provided on DITT’s own property.

However, as there was no counter motion, the application was rejected until clearer information on the availability of car parking becomes available.

Committee chairman Jim Anderson said afterwards that the decision had been taken somewhat reluctantly.

“It is well known that there is a massive shortage of property in the town and spaces are at a premium,” he said.

“So here is a local developer trying to build four units with their own money, so it should be welcomed.

“On that basis it is good, but there is a lot of resistance locally and concern about the lack car parking.

“Hopefully if they go away and sort their reports out and maybe look at the development again because they have their own private car parking down below, they could come back with a workable solution that would allow four more units to be built and car parking being made available.”