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Council / Planning consent sought for Knab redevelopment infrastructure work

Image via SIC

A NEW milestone has been reached in the redevelopment of the former Anderson High School site in Lerwick as the council seeks planning permission for the infrastructure and “public realm” parts of the project.

This includes elements such as roads, site levelling, landscaping, parking, drainage, pedestrian and cycle movement and play areas.

The site is currently being demolished after pupils and teachers moved out of the school nearly six years ago, in late October 2017.

Four buildings are to be retained, including three listed properties, and the plan is to create a mixed use site with the potential for between 120 and 140 new homes.

A planning statement says the infrastructure and public realm works will provide the “foundations for the delivery of the Knab masterplan, facilitating the future delivery of housing on the site and retaining key buildings and public amenity spaces for future re-use”.

It adds: “The proposed development will improve pedestrian and cycle access throughout the site, deliver the necessary infrastructure including vehicle access and parking, and deliver a high quality public realm including play space, public art and biodiversity enhancements.”

Redevelopment of the Knab site is a key part of the SIC’s plan to tackle a housing shortage in the isles.

The proposals for new housing and the redevelopment of existing buildings will be addressed separately, and will have their own planning applications in the future.

The infrastructure planning statement says the hope is to have a central spine which provides “accessible, step-free access” between Twageos Road at the bottom of the site and Knab Road at the top.

This spine would include seating, play areas, green spaces, a cycle shelter and opportunities for public art. There would also be around 2,800 trees and shrubs planted within the site.

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A total of 156 parking spaces are identified for residents, with an additional 69 on-site spaces for non-residential uses.

The current proposals have been slightly altered from the masterplan stage, which took place over the last few years.

These changes include accommodating site levels, and realigning some path routes and parking spaces.

Council leader Emma Macdonald said: “I’m pleased to see this planning application now submitted for the infrastructure and public spaces that will form part of the redevelopment of the former Anderson High School site.

“This is a really important project for Shetland and the detail in these documents will obviously shape the overall project as it develops.”

The Knab redevelopment project is being led by Shetland Islands Council, and it will supported with investment of up to £9.1 million from the Scottish Government through the Islands Deal.

However, the initial stages of the redevelopment have already gone over budget – with councillors previously having to approve extra spend.

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