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Community / Charging points project wins the day in voting marathon

A PROJECT to install charging points for electric vehicles and e-bikes won the day during some intense voting activity at a virtual meeting of Lerwick Community Council on Monday evening.

Community councillors were tasked to rank three town centre improvement projects in the running for a share of government funding.

Living Lerwick aims to promote the town centre and its businesses. Photo: Hans J Marter/Shetland NewsLerwick Community Council hopes to attract more people to the town centre by providing charging points for vehicles and e-bikes.

In September, the Scottish Government announced £30 million of funding for town centre regeneration, with £73,000 of that to be shared between Scalloway and Lerwick.

Following some lengthy deliberation in which each of the three projects were carefully weighted and the pro and cons considered, the vehicle charging points project, proposed by the community council itself and estimated to cost around £12,000, emerged as the clear winner.

Living Lerwick’s project to commission well known Scottish artists to create a number of murals at sites near Commercial Street came second, narrowly beating a project to improve pedestrian and wheelchair access at Church Road into third place.

Some community councillors voiced doubts whether it was a good idea to spend money on public art during difficult economic times.

However, promoting the street art project Living Lerwick director Steve Mathieson said there were some corners in the town that needed brightening up, and as such the murals project was part of a larger initiative.

If funding was tight, Mathieson said, the mural project could easily be reduced in size.

Last year, Living Lerwick had been successful in sourcing funding for a public art trail which has commissioned four internationally known artists to create sculptures around Lerwick.

Meanwhile, Shetland Islands Council’s own project to improve pedestrian and wheelchair access at Church Road was the least favourite.

The Lerwick Community Council’s priority list, moved by Averil Simpson and seconded by Stewart Hay, will now go to a town centre fund working group for further consideration before a final decision is made.

Scalloway Community Council will have to carry out the same process.