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Community / Fetlar community group keen to install four Polycrubs

New caravan and motorhome facilities, meanwhile, have now opened at the island’s public hall

Polycrubs allow Shetland folk to grow fresh produce locally and thus reduce food miles. Photo: Polycrub

THERE are hopes to install four community Polycrubs in Fetlar to allow more people to grow their own produce.

Fetlar Community Association is keen to build the polytunnels on the site of a former playground at Houbie, near to the Stakkafletts council houses.

It has now applied to Shetland Islands Council for planning permission.

The association said in planning documents that it is “passionate about community empowerment and skills development” and has small core group of people “ready to help others to grow their own”.

There is a hope that letting people work in the Polycrubs could boost local people’s wellbeing.

The project would also aim to use expertise from Westside growers Transition Turriefield to promote and develop the project.

“This project could really increase community interaction because of the location of the plot next to the housing development, and it is only just down the road from the school – who could also be involved,” the application said.

“In the longer term there might be possibility of future expansion of adjacent privately owned land, or on another site if this provide necessary/desirable.”

The plans have risen from the ages of larger, more ambitious project which was coined by Fetlar Development Ltd in 2017 but failed to take off the ground.

Fetlar Community Association’s Graham Booth said people on the island have been wanting polytunnels for years.

“We are purchasing a piece of land from the council which used to be the old playpark,” he said. “That’s been redundant for some years now.”

Booth said “hopefully it is ticking all the right boxes about the environment, about food poverty, and all sorts of things”

He estimates that the project could cost around £55,000 to £60,000 to come to fruition, and the plan would be to allow people to have a section of a Polycrub each.

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Meanwhile a new caravan park at the Fetlar hall is now open, offering a new focal point for visitors to the northerly island.

The project is also the work of the community association.

Fetlar Community Hall. Photo: Fetlar Community Association

Booth said “it looks good, and it is working well”.

“We’re actually full today [Friday],” he added. “It’s amazing how quickly word gets around.”

Booth warned that arriving without a booking is likely to become more risky as its popularity increases.

The project involves three parking bays along with hook-up points, washing, laundry and waste disposal facilities.

It cost around £155,000 and funding came from LEADER, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Shetland Islands Council and the Robertson Trust.

The facility is already seeing visitors stay in Fetlar longer than they may have done so previously.

“That will bring extra visitors to the interpretive centre, the shop, post office, cafe, as well as people just enjoying the nature,” Booth said.

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