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Council / New children’s home gets planning approval

Residential facility ‘much-needed’

A PROJECT to build a new residential care facility for young people in Tingwall has moved a step closer after receiving planning permission.

The £870,000 Shetland Islands Council building would be located behind the Tingwall Primary School near to the Gaet-A-Gott housing scheme.

Councillors approved the new facility back in February with hopes that it will reduce the need for children to be sent to the Scottish mainland for specialist services.

The unit, which will be procured in partnership with Hjaltland Housing Association, would feature six bedrooms as well as living, dining and kitchen spaces.

It comes against a backdrop of recent legislation which gives young people the right to remain in their care placement until the age of 21.

The Tingwall plans did receive one objection, citing the loss of open space, disturbance to bird population and the loss of residential amenity in the area.

However, Shetland Islands Council’s planning service said it was “considered that the proposed development will have no adverse impact on the natural or built environment”.

“The proposed residential block is acceptable in terms of its location, scale, form and design and will have no overlooking privacy or overshadowing issues, thus residential amenity will not be affected,” it added.

The decision report added that “while there will inevitably be some disturbance to local bird populations, the site is not within any defined local natural heritage areas”.

Education and families committee chairman George Smith.

Chair of Shetland Islands Council’s education and families committee George Smith said he was pleased to hear of the project’s progress.

“This is excellent news, and a welcome step forward towards providing this much-needed facility,” he said.

A report presented to councillors earlier this year said there is a “shortage of placements in Shetland for young people who require residential childcare placements”.

At the moment, there are around 30 looked after children in Shetland at any one time, most of whom are supported at home, in kinship care or foster care, with a small number in residential care.

Currently the council has three-bed residential services at Grodians in Lerwick and Windybrae in Dunrossness, as well as two single placements for young people at Lochside in Lerwick and Brae.