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Council / Committee approves planning permission in principle for house near Clickimin Broch

The old building to the left of the broch, near the loch, would be demolished and a new house built in the area behind it. Photo: The Shetland Flyer/Rory Gillies

MEMBERS of Shetland Islands Council’s planning committee have given their backing to a proposal to build a house near to the Clickimin Broch in Lerwick.

The approval of planning permission in principle comes with a raft of conditions, including that there be a written scheme of archaeological works drawn up prior to development.

The proposal had provoked strong objections from Historic Environment Scotland (HES) and also Shetland’s archaeologist Dr Val Turner due to the proximity to the historic Iron Age structure.

It went in front of the planning committee on Monday due to the unresolved objection from HES, which looks after the site.

Planning permission in principle was sought to demolish a derelict building near Clickimin Loch and create a one storey house behind it. It would be located to the right of the pathway down to the broch, if you are looking towards the loch.

It was a revised application following a similar submission which was ultimately rejected by planners in 2020 over concerns that a house would have a negative impact on the setting of the well preserved remains of the historic monument.

This time around the planning service said it felt the revised distance from the broch minimised the impact on the monument, and was on balance acceptable.

The service said it understood the concerns but does not feel that the proposal – which is still subject to its design being signed off – would “fundamentally impact upon the integrity of the scheduled ancient monument or its setting”.

In a letter to the planning service last year Dr Turner said the location was “totally inappropriate for a house and could end up at public inquiry” if it was consented.

But in its conclusion the planning service said the proposal “respects the predominant development pattern of the existing settlement within the area and environment, and landscape”.

Planning team leader John Holden said at the meeting on Monday that the service was “very conscious” of the objections, and the organisations’ expertise.

He reiterated that the latest plan saw the proposed house sit further away from the broch, and closer to South Road. Holden also said it was “well located” in an area which already features housing.

Holden also said it would have been in planning officers’ minds that the demolition of the derelict building would be an improvement for the area.

The meeting also heard that the site in question was historically an old tattie field, and that initial ground investigations only recovered some more contemporary pottery – nothing out of the ordinary.

Councillors were also told the house in question is likely to be a single storey property, although as the application was for planning in principle, the exact design has yet to be finalised.

There was little debate from councillors, with meeting chair Davie Sandison moving to approve the application.

Because HES objected to the plans, Scottish ministers will now be notified of the committee’s decision.