Name: Peter Coleman Electoral Ward: Lerwick South Description: –
I was born and raised in Shetland. Having spent time traveling in my youth I came to recognise what a great place Shetland is. It has been a privilege to return to raise my own family here.
When I returned to Shetland I, like many others, struggled with the cost of renting particularly as my family grew. It was this that first led me to join Hjaltland housing association board as I was keen to improve rental opportunities for those who couldn’t afford private rental. Whilst volunteering with Hjaltland I learnt more about the difficulties people face on a day to day basis in regards to housing and cost of living. I was able to play my part within the Hjaltland team to influence building projects such as the Observatory and King Harald Street and initiate the development at Staneyhill. I saw that the council was lacking in its own efforts to produce quality social housing. It has only completed one project within the last 10 years, in Brae. I want to work with council officials to raise the agenda of building homes within Lerwick south and across Shetland. Homes are not just somewhere to live, but provide security, stability, and a place to raise a family. I recognise that home building in the short term doesn’t always appear cost effective but the value of homes shouldn’t just be counted in monetary worth but in the quality of life it can provide to both residents and the wider community.
Housing cannot be considered as an isolated issue; services must also be taken into account such as schools, hospitals, health centres and childcare. Community spaces such as parks, halls, football pitches, green spaces are also vital to ensuring people’s quality of life and building homes without examining how these will be provided is short-sighted.
Housing goes hand in hand with cost of living. We are all facing pressures on our finances. We are having to re-evaluate our expenses and balance how to pay the ever increasing food and fuel bills. Many are worrying about where support is going to come from if they can’t cover their costs. Some will need help from the council to shelter from the worst price hikes. If Shetland had more autonomy we would be able to control our response to material hikes by the allocation of taxes and better targeted support.
It is only when we have more control over housing, cost of living and local issues such as fixed links that we can plan longer term; building better, stronger communities with good quality services close by. Shetland Island’s Council needs to be more ambitious for Shetland, and speak with more authority to central government to ensure our voices are heard in relation to issues close to home that affect us so much.
I hope to win your vote to listen to what matters most to you and represent Lerwick South within Shetland’s Islands Council to do my bit towards creating a fairer, more equal community.
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