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Also in the news / Lunna kirk update, distillery planning consent, FOI consultation and more…

Lunna kirk with Lunna House in the background. Photo: Shetland News

THE GROUP aiming to save the historic kirk at Lunna and preserve it for future generations has so far raised more than £10,000 as part of its bid to buy the building from the Church of Scotland.

The Lunna Kirk Preservation Group said it believes between £25,000 and £30,000 is needed to be in a position to purchase the historically significant building for community use.

Lunna Kirk, the oldest kirk still in use in Shetland, is one of 20 local buildings the Church is selling off in a bid to reduce its estate as congregation numbers fall.

The preservation group has a commitment from the Church of Scotland that it will work with them with the aim of selling the building to the community group.

The group said £10,700 had been raised so far between various fundraising events, direct donations and through its crowdfunding page which can be found here.

A PROPOSED whisky distillery in Lerwick has secured change of use planning permission.

The distillery is planned for the former joinery building between Market Street and the car park at the top of the Viking bus station.

The project, which would create Shetland’s first whisky distillery, could cost £3.5 million in total.

AN ADDITIONAL eight houses at the housing development currently being constructed in Upper Scalloway has also gained planning permission.

Work is already well underway on 32 units at the site, but contractor E&H is proposing another eight.

THE SCOTTISH Government is seeking views on improving access to information about public services.

The Access to Information Rights in Scotland consultation aims to gather views and evidence on what information rights should look like.

This includes whether additional third sector bodies and private businesses should be brought within the scope of existing freedom of information (FOI) legislation, if they carry out work for the public sector or receive public funds, as well as what information should be published proactively by government and public services.

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The consultation also looks at whether guidance on the use of different technology platforms should be introduced.

Minister for parliamentary business George Adam said: “The responses to the consultation will inform our work to improve FOI rules and deliver on the Scottish Government’s commitment to openness and transparency.”

The consultation can be accessed here, the deadline for responding is Tuesday 14 March.

Tory Highlands and Islands list MSP Jamie Halcro Johnston.

CONSERVATIVE Highlands and Islands MSP Jamie Halcro Johnston has been elected as the vice-convener of a newly established Scottish Parliament cross-party group on space.

The group has been established to promote the Highland and Islands both as a site for launch facilities and also help local firms play a role in the supply chain for the sector.

Halcro Johnston said: “This is an exciting growth sector for the whole of the UK, and one the Highlands and Islands is playing a leading role in, both in terms of launch facilities such as Saxa Vord in the north of Shetland which I visited a few years ago, but also with local businesses being involved in the vital supply chain.

“The space sector offers so many opportunities for our region – including high skilled jobs and investment – and the new cross party group will provide a platform for the sector and key stakeholders to better engage with Holyrood.”

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