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Council / SIC meetings set to move home next month

St Ringan's when it housed Shetland Library. Photo: SIC

THE ST Ringan’s building in Lerwick could host its first full council meeting next month.

Refurbishment work has been ongoing in the former church after Shetland Library moved back into its former home along the road last year.

The building will be repurposed as the new chamber for Shetland Islands Council (SIC) meetings as they move out of the Town Hall.

Malcolm Bell. Photo: Chris Cope/Shetland News

It appears the wait will soon be over, with SIC convenor Malcolm Bell confirming plans to hold the last full council meeting prior to May’s election in the building.

“I understand the work on the new council chamber at St Ringan’s is progressing well,” he said.

“It has always been this council’s intention to begin using the St Ringan’s chamber before the council term ends so, we plan that the final scheduled full council meeting on 16 March will take place there.”

However, new a broadcasting system to enable live-streaming may not be used until after the election.

“The new chamber will bring many improvements not only for the members using it but also for public and press access to council proceedings,” Bell said.

“It will also be equipped to allow us to livestream meetings although it may be after the elections before this particular feature is enabled.

“The constraints of the old Town Hall chamber restricted public access to an extent that was just not democratically acceptable anymore and made use of new technology difficult.”

Council meetings were previously held in the downstairs room in the Town Hall, and after they resumed in the Covid pandemic they were held upstairs to allow for greater social distancing.

During the pandemic meetings were initially held remotely on Microsoft Teams before going hybrid, with a mix of both online and virtual participation.

The main council committee meetings are recorded through Teams and uploaded to the council’s YouTube account.

However there has been some frustration over the varied sound quality upstairs from broadcasts in the Town Hall.