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Election / Peterson announces candidacy for Shetland South election

Bryan Peterson. Photo: Dave Donaldson

A SENIOR manager at Shetland Arts has announced he is standing as a candidate in the South Mainland constituency at the forthcoming council elections.

Forty five year old Bryan Peterson, who is the arts agency’s head of creative opportunities, is the latest to throw his hat into the ring in the Shetland South ward.

Other candidates – so far all male – vying for four seats include the Greens’ Alex Armitage, incumbents Allison Duncan and construction industry manager Stewart Douglas.

The SNP’s Robbie McGregor is going through the party’s internal selection process to contest the ward, which incorporates the South Mainland and Fair Isle, while current education committee chairman George Smith has announced he will not stand again.

Peterson – who was born and brought up in Lerwick and returned home to work for Shetland Arts after spending most of his twenties studying and working in Glasgow – said the cost-of-living crisis and housing were the primary concerns in many people’s minds.

As chairman of Sandwick Community Council, and having lived in Hoswick for 12 years, he believes he has a “good grounding in the issues affecting the South Mainland”.

“With folk’s electricity bills and fuel costs soaring, inflation pushing prices and mortgage rates ever higher, and supply issues affecting business overheads, the SIC has to work at a strategic national level to help mitigate the impacts that already affect Shetland residents disproportionately,” Peterson said, “particularly in areas such as transport and fuel poverty.

“We are surrounded by renewable and mineral energy that is vital for the UK, so we must negotiate with Holyrood, Westminster and energy companies to redress the cost of living imbalance.”

He referred to the SIC’s 2022-2027 local housing strategy setting out plans for new homes and the modernisation of existing houses and said it would be “up to the new council to hit the ground running to ensure the ambitions are delivered”.

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“Supporting the construction industry is key to this,” he said. “We need more apprenticeships to expand local capacity, and new financial models to allow contractors to get on and do the work.”

Peterson added: “I’d like to take this opportunity to wish good luck to all the candidates. And if you’re thinking about standing but are unsure, I urge you to go for it.

“It’s a straightforward process and the SIC staff are very helpful, and I’ve found past and present councillors to be a great source of advice. For a healthy democracy, voters need to have a choice of candidates and hopefully the next council will have a good mix of age and gender that reflects the community.”

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