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Community / Homes could be built at old school site

One of the old AHS hostel blocks has been suggested for student accommodation.
An aerial view of the Knab site.

AT LEAST 60 housing units could be built at the old Anderson High School site in Lerwick as part of its redevelopment.

The Knab project is also included in Shetland Islands Council’s plans to attract major funding to the isles through the Scottish Government’s proposed islands deal.

A report presented to the council’s development committee on Tuesday by housing manager Anita Jamieson on the local authority’s strategic housing investment plan for 2019/20 to 2023/24 showed that the Knab housing could be delivered in three phases of 20 units.

The first phase is anticipated for approval in June 2020, with all phases a mix of rented accommodation and shared equity housing, and funding would be due to come in from the Scottish Government.

Work is progressing on a master plan for the old school site and the results of the project, which is being led by Edinburgh based 7N Architects, should be presented to council committees in February.

It is expected to feature a mixture of housing and other uses, with ideas like student accommodation also previously mooted.

The development committee report also stated that the Knab site could allow the council to explore alternative housing tenure options – including for “mid market rent” for people who can’t afford to buy a house, but are not a priority for council housing.

It added that the Knab project is “also included in the islands deal and this has potential to attract additional funding streams to the projects due to the multi-disciplinary opportunities presented alongside new housing supply”.

The site was effectively vacated in October last year when the Anderson pupils left for the new school at Lower Staney Hill. Some council staff, however, have been using some of the old buildings.

Development committee chairman Alastair Cooper said after the meeting that the masterplan was at its “final stages” – and he stressed that he wants to see the results of public consultation embedded in its plans.

“The final masterplan is coming out I hope in the next couple of weeks or before Christmas,” he said.

“Officers have been working along with 7N Architects to finalise it. I would like to believe that the point that it comes out, some of the the community consultation will be reflected in the final version.”