Wednesday 22 May 2024
 13°C   SE Light Breeze
Ocean Kinetics - The Engineering Experts

Community / Community takeover of Hillswick Kirk fizzles out

Photo: Church of Scotland.

THE IDEA of a community purchase of the Hillswick Kirk appears to have reached a dead end.

Community group Friends of the Hillswick Kirk conceded that the historic church will now go on the market because there is not the “local will” to proceed with a purchase.

The large kirk, built in 1869, went on the market in March for offers over £40,000 in a move that took some of the local community by surprise.

The Church of Scotland said it was listed at this stage because of its deteriorating condition.

But it was soon removed from the public market to allow a community group to form and work on a possible bid for the building.

The Church of Scotland’s current position is that the building will go back on the market unless there is a community offer in the works.

But the community group said that “despite the strong emotional bonds many of us feel to the Hillswick kirk building, there just isn’t the local will to proceed with a community purchase”.

Group representative Tom Morton said: “The Church of Scotland, in my opinion at least, has handled this whole affair badly – though the Kirk’s legal department has been excellent throughout in all my dealings with them – precise, straightforward and friendly.

“It is sad that this has not been echoed in more public-facing departments and communication generally. The way the building was left to decay reflects poorly on the Kirk, given that it and the land it stands on was gifted for ministry to the people of Northmavine.

“So now it is to be sold, and we can only hope that is bought by someone who will care for it and acknowledge its importance to the people of Northmavine.”

Morton said he wished to thank those who have supported the campaign, especially the Northmavine Community Development Company and architect Suzanne Malcolmson.

Become a supporter of Shetland News


“Anyone interested in seeing the drawings of possible conversion of the kirk into an auditorium and flats should contact Malcolmson Architects in Scalloway,” he said.

The Hillswick Kirk is one of many in Shetland which are set to be sold by the Church of Scotland as it trims its estate in the isles.

The Fetlar Church is currently under offer following a bid from the community, while the Church of Scotland has also been working with groups in Yell, Bigton and Fair Isle.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.

Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.

Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has  over 600 supporters  who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.

Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -

  • Bring you the headlines as they happen;
  • Stay editorially independent;
  • Give a voice to the community;
  • Grow site traffic further;
  • Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.

If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.



Subscribe to a selection of different newsletters from Shetland News, varying from breaking news delivered on the minute, to a weekly round-up of the opinion posts. All delivered straight to your inbox.

Daily Briefing Newsletter Weekly Highlights Newsletter Opinion Newsletter Life in Shetland Newsletter

JavaScript Required

We're sorry, but Shetland News isn't fully functional without JavaScript enabled.
Head over to the help page for instructions on how to enable JavaScript on your browser.

Your Privacy

We use cookies on our site to improve your experience.
By using our service, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy.

Browser is out-of-date

Shetland News isn't fully functional with this version of .
Head over to the help page for instructions on updating your browser for more security, improved speed and the best overall experience on this site.

Interested in Notifications?

Get notifications from Shetland News for important and breaking news.
You can unsubscribe at any time.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

We're committed to ensuring everyone has equitable access to impartial, open and quality local journalism that benefits all residents.

By supporting Shetland News, you play a vital role in ensuring we remain a pivotal resource in supporting the community.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.