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Community / Knab redevelopment traffic and parking concerns remain for Gressy Loan residents

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

RESIDENTS living near to the former Anderson High School have formally lodged an objection to plans for the infrastructure and ‘public realm’ elements of the site’s redevelopment.

The residents, mainly of Gressy Loan, also claim their views continue to be “disregarded” by the council project team overseeing the development.

The objection has been submitted on the grounds of parking, traffic flow, road safety and the welfare of the general neighbourhood.

Their letter said the residents still have “grave concerns” about congestion and safety issues in relation to increased traffic in the area, and it adds concern about the prospect of “overflow parking” on the roads around the site.

It added: “Additionally, we believe that the application lacks sufficient up to date information, clarity in some areas, and contains several inaccuracies, making it difficult to conduct a thorough evaluation of the proposed new access to Gressy Loan and the potential traffic impact.”

Shetland Islands Council’s planning application refers to work such on areas like roads, site levelling, landscaping, parking, drainage, pedestrian and cycle movement and play areas.

Planning consent sought for Knab redevelopment infrastructure work

The buildings are currently being demolished after pupils and teachers moved out of the school in 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.

Residents of Gressy Loan have previously raised concern about traffic and parking.

Gressy Loan is the steep road which links the top of the Knab to Twageos Road at the bottom.

The residents’ latest letter said: “We wish emphasise that we continue to have considerable concerns regarding the access for vehicles to the site and the resulting consequences for traffic flow, parking provisions, and the inconvenience experienced by existing residents in the entire development vicinity.

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“These concerns are not limited to the construction phase but are of even greater significance for the wellbeing of current residents in the future.

“While the plans for the new development emphasise the improved quality of life and the formation of ‘micro-communities,’ it appears that little to no consideration has been given to the substantial impacts on the community that already resides in this area.”

The residents emphasised that they do not in principle object to the development of the land for a “proportionate” mix of uses.

“While we acknowledge that this planning application does not currently encompass the housing development, we continue to maintain considerable apprehensions regarding the inadequate parking provisions, significant and subjective underestimations of traffic influx, site access proposals, and the prolonged, ongoing disruption for residents,” they added.

The letter also offers a “constructive suggestion” around parking and roads.

They feel that the development of the site gives an opportunity to create wider roads at the top of Knab Road, and most of the way down Gressy Loan.

They said this would allow off-road parking for current and new residents, “thereby creating more road capacity and keeping us all safe”.

“We would strongly suggest that widening most of Gressy Loan to create additional parking, is considered as this may also alleviate resident access and safety issues across from the proposed site access roads,” they added.

“This is likely to contribute positively to enhancing the area, making it more suitable and improving its functionality.”

Meanwhile a spokesperson for Shetland Islands Council said the local authority would not comment in response to an objection to an ongoing planning application.

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