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Council / SIC provides loan to building firm for housing

Construction of the first house got underway recently. Photo: SIC

A BUILDING firm based in Burra is set to receive a £300,000 loan from Shetland Islands Council (SIC) to help the company build up to 13 modern and energy-efficient homes in rural areas.

The loan to BA Builders is considered a pilot project as the council has not provided loans to local businesses for house building before.

The SIC said providing finance to the project supports its “strategic objectives to encourage people to live and work in Shetland”.

The council maintains a £15 million investment fund and can provide commercial finance to new and growing local businesses to stimulate economic growth and employment.

BA Builders owner Brian Anderson said: “Accessing funding for property development has not been easy and without council funding, we couldn’t have gone ahead with this project.

“We started the build on the first house in Burra in February and already have interest from prospective buyers for this house and future builds. I’d encourage folk to get in touch at an early stage if they are interested.”

The company has also begun prioritising new builds rather than focusing on smaller scale projects like extensions and renovations.

The SIC’s development committee chairman Alastair Cooper said housing was a “key part” of the isles’ ten year plan to ensure that people can live, work, study and invest in Shetland.

“This is a positive project to provide highly energy-efficient and affordable family houses which are very much in demand,” he added.

“Historically, the construction industry has not been a sector supported by the council, however BA Builders approached the council having exhausted all other funding sources.

“Demand for future house building loans will be monitored and we may review our policy so that we can support other housing developments in this way.”