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Community / HGVs asked to drive slowly past Linkshouse to minimise vibration risk to building

Road leading to mid yell harbour with speed limit signs and a dilapidated building with 'danger keep out' warnings.

RESTRICTIONS are being imposed on heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) travelling past a ruined building in Yell amid continued safety concerns.

The council has been advised that HGVs should be restricted to speeds of 10mph on the road which runs past the Linkshouse building to minimise the impact of vibrations on the dilapidated property.

A temporary order restricting vehicles weighing more than 3.5 tonnes has also been put in place this week, with plans for a permanent one after that.

However there are many exemptions in the order and all large vehicles will be allowed to use the road if they have written permission from the council.

The C-listed property, which dates to 1700s, is also now subject to a dangerous building notice.

The property is in the centre of a planning wrangle, with its owner keen to have it demolished on safety grounds.

However conservation organisations have objected to this.

Although councillors have supported demolition, the final decision lies with the Scottish Government, with the outcome yet to be delivered.

A recent structural report delivered to the council’s building standards team concluded that the north elevation wall presents a risk of collapse and a risk to road users.

It said that controlled demolition of the building is a safer option than undertaking work on the north wall, and said this would address any issues with other walls.

In the meantime the advice was that HGVs should be restricted to speeds of 10mph on the road next to the building.

The exemptions written into the traffic order imposed by the council includes emergency services, council vehicles undertaking statutory duties such as essy kerts and agricultural vehicles.

There is also exemption for any vehicle which has the written permission of Shetland Islands Council (SIC).

The SIC’s roads manager Neil Hutcheson said “given the potential consequences we considered the need for the weight restriction to be urgent”.

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He added that generally the purpose of the orders is to ensure that drivers of HGVs are aware of the issue with Linkshouse, “and that we are able to inform them of the structural engineer’s request that they heed an advisory 10mph speed limit”.

North Isles councillor Robert Thomson said the exceptions to the order “should minimise any immediate community impact”.

Initially local residents were concerned at the lack of advanced notice for the temporary order, which was put in place at 8am on Monday.

They were only made aware when a public notice was issued on Friday.

Only the notice for the permanent order invites consultation, with people able to respond within 28 days.

There are no alternative routes to the 11 houses served by the road in question.

Lynda Anderson, who has family in the area, questioned why there were no restrictions on people passing the property, if it is deemed to be dangerous.

More generally, she said residents in the area continue to be “very frustrated” at the length of time it is taking Scottish ministers to make a final decision on the future of the building.

“Most feel that demolition is the only practicable option,” Anderson said.

The building now has the words “danger” written on it, and a line of large bins have been put in place in front at the roadside.

Linkshouse owner Lindsay Laurenson said: “We are working with all relevant parties to try and reach an amicable agreement regarding the future of Linkshouse.

“As the owner of the property, I remain of the opinion that the safest course of action is to demolish what is left of the structure.”

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