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Unst projects could bid for heritage funding

Money is available from Scottish Natural Heritage.

Photo: Chris Cope/Shetland News

AN INTEGRATED bid for substantial funding which would bring together a number of heritage projects in Unst is being explored.

Shetland Amenity Trust chief executive Mat Roberts told a meeting of the organisation’s trustees on Friday that there is £5 million available for the Highlands and Islands through the new Scottish Natural Heritage cultural and heritage grant fund.

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He suggested this could mean around £1 million could come Shetland’s way if the money was distributed evenly.

The amenity trust is currently overseeing a project for the National Trust of Scotland at Halligarth in Unst but there have been discussions about bringing in more projects on the island to form a unified bid for the funding.

This could also include plans for a trail at Hermaness, for example.

Roberts said while the idea is in its earliest stages, timescales are “very short” for applying for funding, with a closing date set for April.

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He added that any projects involved would already have to be well developed.

“I would want everybody to understand that it’s no more than an interesting idea [at the moment],” Roberts said after the meeting.

“But there are a number of large scale projects taking place on Unst which could be brought together under this natural and cultural heritage fund, which would bring potentially significant sums of money.”

Roberts also told trustees that the proposed spaceport in Unst could tie into the idea – but only in a “parallel” way as no private sector projects can be involved.

“Should the spaceport happen, it’s a very major investment going on in Unst. We’ve not had any conversations at all with anybody at the spaceport, but there is a visitor attraction element to space launches – people go to visit them,” he said.

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