THE ELIGIBILITY criteria of a national funding scheme aimed at boosting town centres in Scotland was called into question at a council meeting on Monday, with concerns some of Shetland’s larger villages are missing out.
Shetland Islands Council was granted a further £73,000 from the Scottish Government’s Town Centre Fund in September, complementing the £205,000 secured last year.
Only projects in Lerwick and Scalloway are eligible for the scheme locally due to their population figures.
At a meeting of the council’s policy and resources committee, elected members granted delegated authority to officers to allocate the £73,000.
South Mainland member George Smith, however, questioned what the criteria was for eligibility.
“I think there are other settlements in Shetland that might see themselves in a similar vein,” he said.
Development director Neil Grant said the government’s criteria was for places with a population of above 1,000, using National Records of Scotland data.
Last year’s funding saw projects like the demolition of the former Scalloway youth centre and an art and culture trail in Lerwick receive grants.
While councillors were pleased to see Lerwick and Scalloway receive funding, Brae and Sandwick were used as examples of places which may have also benefitted.
Council leader Steven Coutts said it was worth reflecting on national schemes and their “suitability for local circumstances”.
“It should be based on the local requirements and local needs,” he said, adding that it was something worth raising.
Proposed projects for the funding include enhanced electric vehicle and e-bike charging facilities in Lerwick, and improvements to the area outside the Scalloway Hall.
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