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Letters / The ‘definite odour of cover-up‘

The non-disclosure agreement covering the settlement which you report has been reached between Shetland islands Council and Hunter & Morrisons over alleged structural problems with the White House, seems to be suspiciously convenient for the council.  There is a definite odour of cover-up here.

If your report that “the structural quality of the building has been proved several times” is correct (and I have no reason to doubt it), so that the contractor is not guilty of providing a structurally inadequate building, it leaves important questions which need answers.

Firstly, and most importantly, if the original charge against Hunter & Morrisons was false, as seems likely, will the council make a public statement confirming this?

It should of course be accompanied by a fulsome apology for the work, worry and unjustified reputational damage that this whole sorry event has caused the contractor.

It would also be good if the council could explain both what made them start this sorry series of events and why they continued the legal action after the building seemingly passed several tests.

Then, if the original accusations were indeed found to be false, the public has a right to know what it has cost the council in they way of the costs of the structural investigation and tests, of the legal action (I hope they paid, at very least, Hunter & Morrisons’ full legal and other costs), and of the shuffling of White House staff to, and back from, other offices.

Finally, the council should set out what steps it has taken to avoid a similar event happening again.

As it’s 21 years since I moved from Lerwick to Edinburgh, some may say I have no right to seek these answers. Maybe so. But the people of Shetland deserve to know what the council has done in their name, why it has done it and what it has cost.

Alistair Easton

Out of court agreement settles White House dispute