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Community / ‘Exemplary’ Scalloway place plan moves closer to being adopted by council

The Scalloway waterfront. Photo: SIC
The Scalloway waterfront. Photo: SIC

A ‘PLACE plan’ detailing how Scalloway could be developed in the future has moved one step closer to being formally adopted by Shetland Islands Council.

The Scalloway Place Plan would be used by the council’s planning service as non-statutory guidance when considering planning applications.

The place plan, which is one of the first of its kind in Scotland, is the result of close consultation with the community through the Re-Create Scalloway project.

At its heart was forming proposals on how the village could be developed, with projects like the demolition of the old youth centre and improvements to walkways along the waterfront the most popular.

Shetland Islands Council’s development committee met on Tuesday morning to recommend that the full council move to adopt the plan when it next meets on 9 September.

Consultation events were first held in Scalloway in 2018 following the award of funding from the Scottish Government.

A draft local place plan went out to consultation earlier this year, with seven responses coming back.

The plan will also be used to inform the development of the council’s next local development plan, which guides planning decisions.

There is also a hope that the plan will provide an “evidence base” to help the council, Scalloway Community Council and the Scalloway Community Development Company to apply for funding to work on the areas identified for improvement.

Development director Neil Grant said the project was “absolutely an exemplar of place planning”.

“This is not something that’s led by officers,” he said. “This is led by the community.”

In a report to members coastal zone management team leader Simon Pallant said there was a hope that the Scalloway plan could influence future projects in Shetland.

“Whilst it may not be possible for the council to commit resources to future local place plans on such a level, it is hoped that the lessons learnt, successes and practices employed can be used to inform and shape future practice,” he said.

Pallant said work has already begun on improvements to the area in front of the current youth centre, while plans are progressing on the demolition of the old one.

He also told councillors there were only a handful of local place plans in Scotland.

Elected members were full of praise for the levels of engagement and consultation over the last two years.

Shetland Central member Moraig Lyall, whose ward includes Scalloway, praised the balance of conserving the best of the village while also looking to the future.

North mainland member Andrea Manson, meanwhile, said “you really can’t praise it enough”.

She said people in areas like Sandwick, Nesting and Voe could be looking on with envy.

“I can see a lot of good ideas coming from all over the isles,” Manson said.

Coincidentally the meeting came just days after Scalloway Community Development Company was given planning permission for a new caravan park and campsite near the village at Asta.

It is set to include ten pitches for caravans and motorhomes, eight tent spaces and three wigwams.

It could go some way to filling the gap created by the closure of the Lerwick camp site at the Clickimin in 2014, with the nearest facility thought to be at Bridge End in Burra some 20 miles away from the town.