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Council / Plans afoot to move council services away from Knab

An aerial view of the Knab site. Photo courtesy of Shetland Islands Council.
An aerial view of the site which is due to be redeveloped. Photo: SIC

SHETLAND Islands Council could spend around £765,000 to relocate services currently based at the old Anderson High School site.

The annual revenue savings from the proposed changes are £267,000, however, meaning the relocation could pay itself back after three years.

Members of the council’s policy and resources committee heard on Monday that there are a number of frontline services based at the old school site in Lerwick, which is set to be redeveloped.

They include ASN, the Bruce Family Centre, community education and environmental health/trading standards.

A business justification case has been prepared to oversee the possible relocation of all of the services, with a proposal to refurbish offices at Montfield and the former HNP Engineers building at Commercial Road to create new space.

The old HNP building could become a new council store at a cost of £245,000, accommodating grounds maintenance equipment, housing items, school exam desks and drama equipment.

Nearby, environmental health and trading standards could move to 66 Commercial Road, with the Bridges Project next door.

Psychological and educational outreach services, the Bruce Family Centre and the assisted support base could move into refurbished offices at Montfield at a cost of £190,000.

ASN is also mooted to move into part of the Anderson High School hostel, with that cost estimated at £45,000.

The consolidation of services and storage would see the council give up four rental leases, with “improved ASN service delivery” also on the cards.

The policy and resources committee agreed to recommend to the full council, which meets on Wednesday, to approve the business case.

There was brief questioning on Monday over the energy costs currently budgeted for all of the services affected, which sits at over £147,000.

The business justification report states that there could be savings of £138,500 in energy if the services are relocated.

Councillors were told that the Knab site is serviced by the Lerwick district heating system, which is “difficult to separate”.

Council chief executive Maggie Sandison said the whole site has to be heated, even if only a small portion is being used.

“We have to heat everything or nothing,” she said.

The Institute, the old Bruce Hostel, the Janet Courtney Hostel and the science block will survive the demolition of the site, with their long-term uses currently being considered.