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News round-up / Althing election hustings, Swan’s Sunday session, flagstone work

ALTHING debaters are to chance fate and come out of their summer hibernation to hold a hustings for the European elections.

Representatives of all Shetland’s political parties will be invited to the hustings at the Lerwick Town Hall at 2pm on Saturday 18 May to answer questions from the public, just five days before Scotland is scheduled to elect its six members of the European Parliament on 23 May.

There is a slim chance the Brexit process will be sorted before then if a withdrawal agreement is ratified by MPs, who have already rejected three attempts at an agreement.

If the UK takes part in the elections then a comprehensive range of options will face the country’s leaders before the next step in the process can be taken.

TO CELEBRATE the start of the season, Swan’s musical heritage and the Shetland Folk Festival, the Swan Trust is to open the historic Fifie to the public on Sunday afternoon for tours and an informal music session.

The boat will be open 2pm – 4pm on 5 May, accessible from the pontoon at Albert Dock in Lerwick. Crew and volunteers will be on hand to provide information on Swan and young local musicians will be aboard playing tunes and encouraging others to join in.

Swan trustee Brian Wishart said: “Swan is no stranger to informal music sessions, both in its past and present.

“Anyone coming aboard is encouraged to take an instrument, which has created some fantastic music – making some of our fondest memories on trips over the years.”

It comes after the Norwegian tall ship Statsraad Lehmkuhl was forced into pulling out of hosting live music for the folk festival this weekend due to damage sustained at sea.

Swan’s first public trip of the year takes place on Saturday, with a day sail around Noss. There will be more day sails around Shetland in the coming weeks, including Papa Stour and Foula, before she sets course for a variety of destinations throughout the season, such as St Kilda, Faroe, Orkney, Denmark and Norway.

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Sunday will provide an opportunity for the public to learn more about the boat and its role in Shetland’s community, including youth development, which is very much at its heart.

Anyone interested in taking a trip on the Swan this year can visit www.swantrust.com to find out more.

SHETLAND Islands Council is to begin essential work to replace flagstones and repair the road surface on the north end of Commercial Street on Tuesday (7 May).

Photo: SIC

The work is scheduled to last six weeks, followed by a three week curing period.

During this time, the road will be closed to through traffic, with a temporary bollard erected between Intersport and the Clydesdale Bank. Pedestrian access to all shops and buildings in the area will be maintained.

The bollards on Burns Walk will be removed, allowing vehicles moving northwards along Commercial Street to exit onto the Esplanade.

The council is asking road users on the Esplanade to look out for traffic emerging from Burns Walk during the works period.

There will be no entry in to Burns Walk from the Esplanade.

The council’s roads executive manager Dave Coupe said: “As this work requires dry frost free weather, this is the best time of year for us to do this essential work whilst allowing us to keep any disruption to a minimum.

“Our staff have met with Living Lerwick, local residents and owners of premises to discuss how we can minimise the impact of the works and take account of their needs, which includes maintaining pedestrian access and allowing nearby deliveries to continue.”

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