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Council / Former AHS demolition plans still to be signed off

A photo of some of the early demolition work. Photo: Shetland News

MORE information on the finer details the demolition of the old Anderson High School will need to be provided by the contractor before the main work can get underway.

Some minor work has taken place on the Shetland Islands Council site (SIC) since contractor Central Demolition arrived last month, focusing on asbestos removal and other “internal preparation works”.

But the main demolition work will only be allowed to take place once a handful of plans, including on traffic and the environment, are signed off by the SIC’s planning service.

Earlier this month the roads department requested more information on how traffic management would play out at the site, which is surrounded by housing.

The contractor has since come back with more details – and the hope is that they will allay the concerns from neighbours and the roads team.

But the council’s environmental health team has requested more information about the work due to be undertaken on site.

“There are no references to defined standards in relation to the control of pollutants, noise and vibration that may be emitted from the site, as well as a lack of detail in regards the system of monitoring to be undertaken in order to ensure no adverse effect or nuisance is caused by the demolition works,” the consultation response said.

“Given the close proximity of residential dwellings to the works area, there is increased potential for uncontrolled emissions to adversely impact the dwellings and their occupants.

“Currently there is insufficient information in the Environmental Management Plan submitted for officers to make an informed comment on this consultation.”

A site waste management plan and details of on-site crushing also need to be approved.

The demolition, of most of the buildings on the former Anderson High School site, will pave the way for new housing in what is a council-led project.

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The contractor arrived on site last month, with the demolition expected to take around 40 weeks. The project to redevelop the site has already gone well over the initial budget for the council.

Whilst no demolition is allowed to take place until the plans have been signed off, some work has taken place to strip back a building near to the main school entrance.

A spokesperson for Shetland Islands Council said: “The side wall of a timber hut near the entrance was initially taken down to facilitate the removal of loose roof insulation material which requires to be vacuumed out first to prevent spread prior to the remainder of the demolition of the huts, which will provide an access route to the rear of the main school building.”

Some early initial work has already taken place at the site. Photo: Shetland News

Assets, commissioning and procurement manager Robert Sinclair said the buildings to be demolished contain asbestos, “although some are much more affected than others”.

“The council commissioned pre-demolition surveys, which were shared with the contractors that tendered for the work to inform their pricing,” he added.

Central Demolition has its own in-house asbestos removal team.

The council spokesperson added that “there will be no haulage of demolition waste materials off-site” until the plans have been approved.

The contractor proposed a 15mph speed restriction in the vicinity of the site for its own construction traffic.

It also said it did not foresee access issues with construction traffic and parked cars in the surrounding roads, highlighting that HGVs and buses have used the route.

Waste from the site would be transported down Knab Road, with trucks turning left at the Church Road roundabout for the onward journey to the Gremista waste management facility.

Any unusually large loads – such as the delivery of machinery – would be carried out with the assistance of the police if required.

But the council’s roads department felt sections of the route would need to be cleared of parked cars to allow the “safe and convenient movement” of large construction vehicles through the area.

As such a temporary traffic order has been issued by the council prohibiting parking at the Lighthouse Buildings and up around the corner, down to Lovers Loan as far as the lower entrance to the old school.

This prohibition could be required at various times during the demolition throughout a 15-week period, starting today (Monday).

The order says that when in operation there will be appropriate signage and ‘no parking cones’ set up.

But a spokesperson for the council clarified that this would only need to be enacted if necessary.

“The contractor expects that the vast majority of HGV movements to and from the demolition site will not be affected by parked cars on adjacent roads, but it was thought sensible to have the option to temporarily restrict parking in this area, in case it is needed,” they said.

“We expect that the contractor’s traffic management plan will be approved by the roads department very soon.”

The contractor also anticipates that construction traffic movements to and from the site will be relatively low – around two to four skip movements per day.

Among the buildings which will escape demolition are the Anderson Institute, the Janet Courtney hostel and the science block.

The high school site was vacated in 2017 by teachers and pupils when the new Anderson opened at the Clickimin.

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