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Business / Major blow as Total vacates Moorfield Hotel

Shetland Gas Plant employees will be accommodated at Sella Ness camp as of August

The Moorfield Hotel at the north entrance of Brae is set to close on 9 September.

ALMOST 50 jobs are on the line at the Moorfield Hotel, in Brae, after oil and gas company Total decided not to extend its seven-year accommodation contract with the hotel.

A consultation process with the view to potential redundancies for the hotel’s 48 employees is now under way.

The hotel was built during the construction period of the Shetland Gas Plant to specifically house Total’s operations and maintenance teams at the plant.

The news is a further blow for the north mainland after it emerged in March that the nearby oil industry airport at Scatsta is set to close on 30 June with the loss of between 50 and 80 jobs.

Total confirmed on Tuesday that as of 1 August the company will use the Sella Ness accommodation camp for its employees.

The controversial camp only received permission to stay open until 2026 after a Scottish Government reporter ruled in January this year that the council’s decision to refuse such permission had been unreasonable.

Moorfield Hotel’s owners BDL Hotels is currently seeking a judicial review to get the government’s decision overturned.

A spokesperson for the hotel said: “Sadly, we have started a staff consultation process regarding potential redundancies at the hotel.

“Whilst we deeply regret the impact this will have on the fantastic team we have here, there are a number of uncertainties surrounding the future of the business, including the position on some longer term accommodation contracts.

“The decision to extend the planning for Sella Ness, along with lack of economic activity as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, is having a detrimental impact on the hotel’s trading.

“We will continue to pursue our Court of Session action against the Scottish Government reporter’s flawed decision to allow Sella Ness to remain open until 2025.

“This is another example of the reporter’s failure to consider the socio-economic impact of the camp.

She added: “We hope to keep the hotel open and to minimise the number of redundancies.”

A spokesman for Total in Aberdeen said: “From August, workers at the Shetland Gas Plant who require accommodation when working on the island will stay at the Sella Ness facility rather than the Moorfield Hotel.

“A five year contract for accommodation at Sella Ness has been agreed that will allow for a significant reduction in the cost of worker accommodation, whilst also providing the level of comfort our workforce expects.

“Total remains strongly committed to the West of Shetland and its operations at the Shetland Gas Plant.”