19th April 2018
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Poles will be thinner

, by , in Public Affairs

The unsightly black poles set up in Lerwick to hold CCTV cameras will be replaced by slimmer columns that are easier on the eye.

A high level meeting between council officials and camera installers Scotshield ruled the poles – which appeared in the town centre last month – should give way to ones that blend more with their surrounding environment following complaints the new structures were too unsightly.

However, one town architect who called for the poles to be taken down said the plans should be resubmitted to the council’s planning department.

Concerns were raised after three poles popped up with extra thick bases to house camera power units.

Planning consent only allowed for the cameras to be attached to existing lamp posts, but the poles were installed because the lamp posts were said to sway too much in the wind, leading to distorted images from the cameras.

One of the poles was erected near the entrance to Victoria Pier, another appeared next to the small boat harbour while a third was placed along by the Fort chip shop.

Last week planning officials, together with staff from roads and capital projects, met with Scotshield staff to help iron out a compromise. The slimmer poles will be connected to separate boxes which will supply power for the cameras.

But while the changes should not mean any further delay in getting cameras up and running by the end of the month, the move has failed to impress local architect and member of the Lerwick old town development association Richard Gibson, who said the planning application for the cameras should now be resubmitted.

“There’s got to be a level playing field. I’m not sure what they are trying to do, but if there is something different from the original planning consent then they ought to reapply.

“They’re going to put support posts in with separate power units. It’s still extra clutter. It’s and outstanding conservation area and it’s in decline. It needs to be treated with sensitivity.”

Planning consent was originally granted over a year ago, but the cameras have had to sit in waiting at the police station because many of the shops and businesses on which they were due to be mounted are classed as listed buildings.

As a result the SIC had to run its plans past Historic Scotland, which caused a number of delays.