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Life returns to the White House

LERWICK’s very own White House is slowly being repopulated again with five council services now operating from the North Ness building.

Shetland Islands Council headquarters at North Ness. Photo: Shetland News

The £7.3 million Shetland Islands Council headquarters was suddenly evacuated in September 2016 due to concerns over its structural integrity.

Following prolonged surveys and loading tests the building was given a clean bill of health in March this year, when the SIC’s capital programme team returned to the premises to oversee the move back.

More recently procurement, human resources, health and safety as well as risk management have all transferred back.

Director of corporate services Christine Ferguson said: “There are some lighting upgrades and some maintenance being done in the lower ground floor offices before the planning service can move back in, followed by governance and law, including our committee services staff.

“There are some changes being made to the reception area on the ground floor to make it more customer friendly.

“Once these are complete, then the chief executive, finance, internal audit and housing will also move back into the building.”

Back in August, chief executive Maggie Sandison said the local authority was hoping to fully occupy the building before the end of the year.

An internal ‘lessons learned exercise’ into what led to the sudden evacuation with all its repercussions is ongoing.

Its outcome will be made public at a later date, according to reassurances from the chief executive as well as council convener Malcolm Bell.