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Brevik hotel plans make way for housing

What the proposed development could look like. Images: Ardent Group

OVER 30 flats and houses could be built on the Brevik House site in Lerwick if the proposed development receives planning permission.

Breiwick Bay Properties Ltd has put its previous plans to build a hotel there on the backburner because of a downturn in the oil industry and the subsequent drop in demand for temporary accommodation in Shetland.

Instead, the company is looking for permission to demolish Brevik House, which was built in 1886, and build 24 social/affordable flats which would be sold or put up for rent, and up to nine private properties which are proposed to be for sale.

Discussions have already taken place between Breiwick Bay Properties Ltd, which has ownership of the site, and Hjaltland Housing Association with regards to affordable housing.

In recent years Brevik House, which was previously used by the NHS, has been utilised by Shetland Solidarity with Refugees for collecting aid donations.

The group said it acknowledged that it always had a temporary arrangement with the building and said it is “truly thankful of having the use of the Brevik all this time”.

Breiwick Bay Properties Ltd, which is part of Aberdeen based property developers Ardent Group and features former isles man Martin Watt as a director, has lodged an initial application with Shetland Islands Council’s planning service for the housing development.

Watt said the hotel plans could be revisited in the future if the housing idea doesn’t work out.

“We are keen to explore all options for this site, following the downturn in the oil industry, we are investigating other possibilities, and getting planning on this site for a residential option would give us some more options,” he said.

“We still hold outline planning permission for the hotel, and may resurrect this at some point.”

The plans feature 12 one bedroom flats, 12 two bedroom flats, four three bedroom semis, two 4/5 bedroom detached houses and three five bedroom detached houses.

The blocks of flats would face South Road, while the houses would be located closer to the sea-facing part of the site.

Brevik House.

The area would also incorporate around 50 parking spaces and a roundabout style turning area.

The proposal has been designed by Macaulay Miller Architecture – a company started in January by Shetland native Calum Miller.

“It has a been a dynamic process working alongside Shetland Islands Council during the quality audit stage,” Miller said.

“I didn’t have the opportunity to have this level of engagement from such a wide range of council departments and external consultants prior to submitting an application when working around the central belt, so it has been extremely refreshing.

“I’m keen to see a development on this site which is well known locally and it will be great to see the site in use.”

Plans for a hotel on the site first appeared in 2014 when the isles’ oil and gas activity was enjoying a boost with the likes of the Shetland Gas Plant being built.

The initial plans for a 125-bedroom Holiday Inn Express were then stripped back to a 91-bedroom hotel.

Last year the company said it had “preliminary discussions with a number of national hotel brands about this potential site”, but since then there had been no update on the plans.