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Business / Sella Ness camp owner lodges appeal against planning decision

The Sella Ness accommodation block.The Sella Ness accommodation camp.

THE COMPANY which owns the Sella Ness accommodation camp has launched an appeal after its bid to extend the building’s temporary planning permission was refused earlier this year.

Malthus Uniteam’s managing director of UK operations Ian Jamieson said the “capacity of the existing facility is crucial to meet medium and long-term demand for worker accommodation for existing and future renewable and construction projects”.

An application to extend the temporary planning permission for the 426-bedroom camp, which is currently operated by Sodexo, until 2026 was turned down by councillors in May.

They said the forecasted demand at the facility was “speculative”, while they reiterated that it was contrary to the islands’ Local Development Plan.

The application received a number of objections from local accommodation providers who claimed keeping the camp open could ultimately result in the closure of hotels or guesthouses in the area.

Jamieson said on Thursday that Malthus Uniteam has now appealed to Scottish ministers against the decision.

“In the appeal submission we have comprehensively addressed the three planning policies noted in the reason for refusal and provided evidence that there is sufficient current and future demand for the facility,” he said.

“Malthus Uniteam believes that the capacity of the existing facility is crucial to meet medium and long-term demand for worker accommodation for existing and future renewable and construction projects, such as the Viking Energy scheme and associated interconnector station.

“A number of energy sector businesses see the Sella Ness facility as a sustainable and viable option for housing their workers.

“Sella Ness also employs a significant number of local staff and already contributes considerably to the local economy in a number of ways, including engaging local suppliers and sub-contractors.”

The camp opened in 2011 at the Sella Ness Industrial Estate to serve workers building the nearby Shetland Gas Plant.

It was first granted temporary planning permission in 2010 before it was later renewed for a further five years through to the end of November 2020.

It continues to house people working at the gas plant, as well as Sullom Voe Terminal.