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Council / SIC to create two new posts to support Knab housing plans

Redevelopment of the Knab site is a key part of the SIC's plan to tackle a housing shortage in the isles.

SHETLAND Islands Council (SIC) is to create two posts to support the delivery of new build housing – with the planned Knab site redevelopment a key part of their remit.

The recruitment of a housing development senior project manager and a part-time community involvement and development officer will primarily be for plans to build new housing at the former Anderson High School site.

The council-led Knab project could result in around 140 new homes being built in phases over a number of years, although that number will be kept under review.

The two new permanent posts were approved by the council’s policy and resources committee on Tuesday.

The meeting heard that the money for the first year of the new posts will come from an already approved Knab budget.

The senior project manager would receive £64,000 a year and the community involvement post would come with a salary of between £17,000 and £24,000.

A report to the meeting said the delivery of new housing post-pandemic will continue to be a “high priority”.

Development director Neil Grant said the council at the moment does not have the resources to engage in projects like the Knab site redevelopment.

He said it has been several years since the council had direct engagement in building housing, with that instead generally being done by Hjaltland Housing Association.

The main work of the two new posts will be on the Knab site, although they will tap into other future projects such as refurbishing properties in Sandveien in Lerwick.

Involving the community in the Knab project is a “core value”, members were told.

During debate development committee chairman Councillor Alastair Cooper said it needed to be recognised that the SIC does not currently have enough resources in the area.

“I do believe that we need to get staff which has the requisite abilities and qualifications to carry this work out to a high level,” he said.

Shetland South member George Smith also welcomed the part-time engagement post as he felt speaking to folk on the ground not only creates more ideas but allows the community to be more in touch with the project.