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History / Concern from heritage organisations over possible demolition of Yell building

Photo: SSD Group

OBJECTIONS have been lodged against plans to demolish a historic ruined building on the seafront in Yell.

Linkshouse, which is C-listed, is said to pose an “unacceptable risk to members of the public who could be affected if it were to collapse”.

But the proposed demolition of the ex-merchant’s house has drawn objections from Historic Environment Scotland (HES) and the Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland (AHSS).

HES said it believed the “information presented does not demonstrate that all reasonable efforts have been made to retain, reuse and/or adapt the listed building”.

The organisation added: “It is an important early building, typical of Shetland, and its setting and grouping allows it to be clearly read as historically having a maritime trading function.”

It however noted public safety concern and that the building is in a poor state of repair.

Meanwhile the AHSS said “demolition and razing all evidence of the building into the ground is, effectively, a reward for neglect”.

It encouraged the council to require the applicant to implement a repair programme to stabilise the building and explore options for bringing it back into use.

Yell Community Council said that although it will be a loss of an historic building, it is in a dangerous condition and removal seems the “only solution”.

Application agent Stewart Douglas previously said structural reports and investigations “conclude demolition is the only viable option”.

There was a fire inside the building in the early 1990s, leaving the building with no roof, internal walls or floors. The windows and doors are also not present.

Last year concern was raised that that part of the front wall appeared to lean inwards more than it did previously.

This then sparked a detailed inspection of the building, which included a laser scan to determine the extent of the lateral movement of the walls. There was “notable” lateral movement found on three of the four sides.

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The structural report concluded that highest risk area is the north elevation, which sits next to a road that is also used by pedestrians.

The building was given C-listed status in 1992.

As a result demolition cannot proceed until listed building consent, which has been applied for, is given.

Douglas previously said the applicant currently has no plans for future development on the site and the decision to demolish is based on safety grounds.

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