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Council / Knab project gains consent to start site levelling and landscaping

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

PLANNING consent for infrastructure works including site levelling, drainage, access and landscaping has been granted for the former Anderson High School site at the Knab.

Councillors at this morning’s (Wednesday) planning committee voiced concern that some of the representations from residents may not have been responded to in the way they should have.

However, they stopped short of amending planning officers’ recommendations after receiving assurances that concerns over vehicles access, parking spaces and surfaces water issues are being listened to and should again be raised in response to future planning applications.

Summing up his concern after listening to presentations from objectors, westside councillor Mark Robinson said: “The residents’ objections that we are seeing here today are the same as the issues they brought forward in 2019 before the masterplan was brought into play.

“To me their concerns are not being considered properly (…).

“The problem exists that Knab Road has no or very little off-road parking, Gressy Loan is not wide enough to allow access on to the site that is currently proposed.

“This all needs to be put into consideration before this move ahead, and it should have been considered and dealt with before this was brought to us.”

North Isles councillor Robert Thomson added that Commercial Street was in no way suitable as access to the Knab area and called on the council as the developer of the project to ‘seriously’ look at how traffic access can be managed better.

The planning hearing heard from five residents making representation on a number of issues, mainly related to parking and traffic management.

Speaking on behalf of Gressy Loan neighbours, Patricia Stewart said they were objecting on grounds of parking, traffic flow, road safety and the welfare of the general neighbourhood.

She added: “Despite consistently sharing our concerns it is disheartening to note that our views have been repeatedly disregarded by the Knab project team.

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“We feel that minimal effort has been made to address legitimate concerns raised by residents, many of whom are elderly and less able to continue voicing their concerns.”

Highlighting the risk of flooding from the proposed development, resident Evelyn Jamieson then played a short video showing a stream of surface water emanating from the back of the former school’s science block and flowing through her garden.

Councillors approved the planning application unanimously after receiving assurances that the developer will be looking actively at the some of the issues raised by residents.

The report before councillors read: “It is recognised that the redevelopment of the Knab site will inevitably create a significant change for existing residents, particularly given the fact that much of the site has not been used since the school vacated the area, however the only alternative would have been to leave the site vacant, which does not help to address current housing needs and demands in Shetland.”

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