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Community / Historic environment agency repeats concern over plans for house near Clickimin Broch

The old building to the left of the broch, near the loch, would be demolished and a new house built in the area behind it. Photo: The Shetland Flyer/Rory Gillies

PLANS for a house near Clickimin Loch have been met with an objection by Historic Environment Scotland due to the “significant adverse impact” it would have on the setting of the nearby broch.

Planning permission in principle is being sought to demolish a derelict building and build a four-bedroom, 1.5 storey house in its place, around 35 metres south east from the Clickimin Broch.

The application, from Raymond Slater, follows a similar submission which was ultimately rebuffed by planners last year over concerns that a house would have a negative impact on the setting of the broch.

It appears history may be repeating itself after Historic Environment Scotland (HES) reiterated its concern and objected to the new plans – again over the impact it could have on the broch’s site.

The agency, which maintains the historic stone monument, did take into account that the new planned house is different in design and around 15 metres further back from the broch than proposed in the previous application.

But HES said the “relationship between Clickimin Broch, the land and the loch within which it is situated is of importance in being able to understand, appreciate and experience the complex history of the site over time”.

It added that despite some modern development in the vicinity of the broch, it “still retains a sense of place which is a key part of the monument’s setting”.

The agency said the house proposal would “continue to have a significant impact on views to and from the monument”.

“This, together with the proposed change of land use within the overall application boundary from agricultural to garden ground, would also significantly affect the sense of place which his a key part of the setting of the monument”.

The application fared slightly better at a recent meeting of Lerwick Community Council, where a proposal from member Arwed Wenger to object over the possible impact on the loch during construction received no support.

While there was no objection, the community council did agree to comment on the need to ensure there is safe access into the property and appropriate mitigation in place to prevent pollution going into the loch during construction.

Some members expressed support for the prospect of a derelict building being removed and a home being built in its place.

It followed a letter from Shetland Amenity Trust’s natural heritage project officer Paul Harvey to council planning staff which stressed the need for appropriate measures to be in place during construction to ensure no pollutants, waste or silt is allowed to enter Clickimin Loch.

Shetland Islands Council’s natural heritage officer has now also expressed concern over the “possible disturbance and displacement” on species in Clickimin Loch arising from the location of the development and the “comings and goings” associated with construction.

“The species that frequent the loch have recently declined significantly and this may be due to the considerable increase in development, lighting and related activity around its shore over the past few years,” they wrote.

“This development would result in a further intensification of activity that will impact one of the areas that wildfowl continue to visit, to forage and roost.”