Council / Science block transfer in conveyancing stage

The science building at the old Anderson High School. Photo: Shetland News

THE FINAL stages of the community asset transfer of the science block at the former Anderson High School is ongoing.

A spokesperson for Shetland Islands Council said that while the asset transfer to New Life Church has already been approved, “the conveyancing is currently being finalised, which will conclude the community asset transfer process”.

Conveyancing involves the legal processes which need to be completed before a property can be transferred to its buyer.

It comes after the Scottish Government’s planning appeals division ruled that change of use consent was not needed for turning the building into a place of worship.

Councillors turned down a change of use planning application from New Life last year, with traffic management and parking key concerns.

The Christian church then appealed the refusal to the Scottish Government, which said there was no case to answer.

Heads of terms of the sale of the building puts the cost at just £1.


The asset transfer of the building was approved back in 2021.

In its business plan New Life Shetland – which currently is based in the Sandveien Neighbourhood Centre – said it also intends to host a community cafe and soft play area, and a counselling/mental health support space.

In its decision the SIC said New Life had a “strong track record of delivering benefits to the Shetland community through their work”.

“Analysis of Best Value indicates that the proposed transfer can be justified, as this asset is not high value,” it added.

“Although the proposed offer for the asset is very small, the benefits that could be delivered by NLS [New Life Shetland] as a result of their occupancy are significant.”

The Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 allows community bodies to make requests for buildings or land owned by public organisations if they feel they can make better use of it.

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Shetland Islands Council has completed two asset transfer requests to date.

This includes the transfer of Nesting’s Auld Skül to the local community development company.

The other completed transfer is the former Bressay school to the island’s development company.

Back in 2018 the Unst Partnership also acquired a building from Highlands and Islands Enterprise in Baltasound.

In that instance the building was sold for less than the market valuation in recognition of the additional community benefits the transfer delivered.

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