SHETLAND Islands Council hopes to be able to again fully occupy its headquarters at Lerwick’s 8 North Ness before the end of the year.
Chief executive Maggie Sandison said the council had been involved in a ‘lessons learned exercise’ ever since the building, commonly referred to as the White House, was evacuated in September 2016.
Around 200 staff were relocated to other SIC premises after owner Shetland Leasing and Property Development Ltd ordered the council to evacuate the building following concerns over its structural integrity.
The council’s capital programme team was the first to move back into the building in spring this year after tests showed that there was nothing wrong with the building.
Last week the SIC applied for a building warrant to make alterations to the existing layout estimated to cost in the region of £100,000.
Sandison said that following these reconfigurations of the building more staff could be housed in the SIC headquarters. Lighting and heating issues are also to be sorted as part of the planned return.
The SIC has continued to pay rent of around £500,000 per annum since the building was vacated.
The move has also created additional cost of around £400,000 of which £163,000 were legal fees.
Sandison, who at the time was not in charge of the evacuation, said a ‘lessons learned’ report on the saga would eventually be made public.
“We are doing a learning exercise from this and, probably, and in due course, that will be a public report that will be presented to the council to conclude this issue,” she said.
“At the moment some of those discussions are still exempt as they relate to contracts, and we couldn’t have that discussion publicly, but some of them will eventually be available to the public.
“It will before Christmas, both the moving back plus the lesson learned exercise.”
Become a supporter of Shetland News
Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.
Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.
Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has over 540 supporters who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.
Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -
- Bring you the headlines as they happen;
- Stay editorially independent;
- Give a voice to the community;
- Grow site traffic further;
- Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.
If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.
Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.Support Shetland News