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Business / Some local businesses at ‘end of their tether’ over Harrison Square mess and noise

One Lerwick community councillor said engagement and preventative work is the way forward

Photo: Jim Mullay

SOME businesses in the centre of Lerwick are at the “end of their tether” over noise and mess made in Harrison Square, a meeting has heard.

Living Lerwick chairman Steve Mathieson said the situation has left some staff in the area saying they do not want to work there anymore.

However at Monday’s Lerwick Community Council meeting one member said “engagement, involvement and preventative work” is the way forward in tackling antisocial behaviour.

Stewart Hay, who lives in the Lerwick lanes, said he did not want any groups being “objects of criticism”.

A multi-agency group has now been set up following concern over the anti-social behaviour in the square, spanning the council and Living Lerwick to pubs and the town’s port authority.

A meeting of Shetland’s community safety and resilience board last week highlighted how younger people were congregating there during the day before adults flock there late at night at the weekends when out in the town.

The matter got another airing at Monday’s Lerwick Community Council meeting.

Speaking on behalf of town centre business organisation Living Lerwick, Mathieson said complaints from the group’s members relate to during work hours.

“It’s the nuisance factor, it’s the noise factor,” he said.

He added that one key complaint is the amount of food thrown about the square, which is located next to a fish and chip shop.

“It’s low-level stuff, but it’s the continuing nuisance,” Mathieson said.

Hay, a former teacher, spoke up for the importance of engaging with those in the square and said he was worried about purely “reacting” to the situation.

“Engagement, involvement, preventative work in a supportive way would be so important and that way they grow up to be responsible citizens,” he said.

The meeting heard that police officers on patrol do try to speak with folk in the square, and said the “vast majority” do not cause trouble.

Officers are also continuing to try to get the message across that drinking in public is not allowed under the Lerwick bye-law.

The police have also been visiting most senior pupils in the Anderson High School to speak about behaviour.

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