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Business / Decommissioning plans produced for Sella Ness camp but no updates on building’s future

The Sella Ness accommodation camp.

THERE are no fresh updates on the long term future of the Sella Ness accommodation camp – despite decommissioning plans for the building’s removal recently being lodged with the council.

The 426-bedroom facility has temporary planning permission until the end of 2025, which was given by the Scottish Government after its owner Malthus Uniteam appealed a refusal by local councillors.

A statement highlighting how the building, which accommodates visiting workers, would be dismantled was lodged with the council in November.

The document said this process would be followed “in the event that no further extension to the temporary permission is granted”.

A spokesperson for Malthus Uniteam said the decommissioning statement was requested by the planning service to bring existing documentation up to date.

A decommissioning statement is required as part of the conditions included in the facility’s planning consent.

But the spokesperson said there are “no additional updates” on the future of the building at this time.

The building, operated by Sodexo, was opened in 2011 to serve workers constructing the nearby Shetland Gas Plant, and after an initial renewal it had further temporary planning permission put in place until November 2020.

A request for further temporary permission through to 2025 was initially refused by councillors on the SIC’s planning committee.

They had concern that it was contrary to the islands’ local development plan.

Objections to the application had also been received from accommodation providers across Shetland and particularly in the North Mainland, where warnings were made that hotels and guesthouses could be forced to close if the camp continued to stay open.

But consent was given on appeal by the government, whose reporter said the decision to refuse had been “unreasonable”.

It comes after Shetland Islands Council’s development director last month suggested early talks were needed with developers of future large projects over their accommodation needs.

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Discussions needed with developers of future projects over accommodation pressures, meeting hears

Neil Grant said among the topics could be about companies providing their own accommodation rather than put pressure on the private rental market.

He said visiting workers involved in the Shetland Gas Plant and Viking Energy projects using private rents over the last decade impacted the market and pushed prices up.

More large projects are on the horizon, such as reworking the Sullom Voe Terminal site and renewable and new energy developments.

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