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Council / SIC keen to dispose of old piers now ‘surplus to requirements’

The Billister Pier in North Nesting is likely to be disposed of. Photo: Shetland News

A NUMBER of small piers which largely served foot passenger ferry links are in line to be sold off by the council.

The piers which are set to be disposed of first include structures at Toogs in Burra, Melby in Sandness, Easterdale and Billister.

Others due to be disposed of include the Gutcher ferry terminal old pier, the old Fetlar ferry terminal at Hamarsness and Mail Pier in Bressay.

Members of the Shetland Islands Council’s harbour board supported the plans, with the matter due to be decided on at a policy and resources meeting on 22 November.

Disposal here means being removed from SIC ownership, either through being sold or demolished.

None of the piers in question have returned any revenue to the council in the last five years.

Despite the size or use of the piers, they are still subject to the obligations of the Port Marine Safety Code.

A report to councillors said the code does not differentiate between piers – meaning the council has the same responsibility for a small pier as it does for the much more significant Sullom Voe jetties.

It said each pier needs to be “considered critically and evaluated realistically on its individual merits to determine that it continues to serve a valuable purpose, particularly when significant new investment decisions need to be made”.

The Toogs pier is now deemed unsafe and access has been restricted, with fences in place.

For the piers at Melby and Easterdale, interest has been expressed in private purchases.

There is also hope there could be interest in the Billister pier if it was offered for sale as there is evidence it has been used recently.

At Wednesday’s harbour board meeting infrastructure director John Smith believed there would be a fair amount of interest in the community.

North Mainland member Alastair Cooper moved to recommend the proposals – but he warned the disposal process could be quite lengthy.