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Community / Demolition the ‘only option’ for Linkshouse, government decides

Linkshouse in Yell, which could be demolished.

THE SCOTTISH Government has given the green light to the demolition of a historic ruined building on the seafront in Yell which is said to be at risk of collapse.

Scottish ministers said they agreed that demolition was the only remaining option for Linkshouse given the poor condition of the C-listed building.

Earlier this month Shetland Islands Council advised a 10mph limit for heavy goods vehicles on the road past the building due to the risk of vibration.

It was also placed under a dangerous building notice.

The building’s owner Lindsay Laurenson applied last year for demolition on safety grounds.

Members of Shetland Islands Council’s planning committee agreed – but the matter was taken to the Scottish Government because of an objection from Historic Environment Scotland (HES).

HES said it believed the “information presented does not demonstrate that all reasonable efforts have been made to retain, reuse and/or adapt the listed building”.

The organisation had added: “It is an important early building, typical of Shetland, and its setting and grouping allows it to be clearly read as historically having a maritime trading function.”

Yell Community Council had also said that although it would be a loss of an historic building, it is in a dangerous condition and removal seems the “only solution”.

It has now been confirmed that a reporter for the Scottish Government’s planning division has recommended that listed building consent be granted for demolition – with ministers agreeing with this stance.

The reporter noted that walls were at risk of collapse, including onto the public road, and that temporary works to support the building are not practicable – adding that repair would not be economically viable.

These are said to be “exceptional circumstances” that weigh in favour of demolition.

The reporter also commented on how there were no objections in the community to the demolition.

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They added: “The building has been offered to parties who might restore it, but none have been interested in doing so, given its condition and the difficulties of securing funding.”

The reporter also said that the proximity of Linkshouse to the coastline would hinder the potential for it being re-used as a home.

The application was approved with two conditions, which includes the requirement for a demolition method statement.

The ground floor of the building was originally used for storage and trading, while the upper floors appear to have been domestic accommodation.

There was a fire inside the building in the early 1990s, when it was said to be used as a store for the nearby shop, leaving the property with no roof, internal walls or floors. The windows and doors are also not present.

The building was given C-listed status in 1992.

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