23rd September 2018
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Approval for Shetland College expansion

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Shetland College is to be expanded with its two parallel blocks linked by a new building containing a reception, administration area and library.

The SIC’s planning board today approved the major extension, which will see an end to the through road currently running between the two blocks.

The current buildings will also be extended on their south-west facing elevations to provide the college with more accommodation.

New colours and materials will be incorporated to help give the college a visual lift and access to nearby Train Shetland will be maintained.

More car parking spaces will also be made available as part of the development.

Eighty-seven spaces are up for grabs just now, but that number will go up to 95 once the project is complete.

Councillors were told colleges tend to have a greater number of students attending who drive.

The report stated: “The proposed design of the extensions to the existing building and the formation of the link building are considered respectable having regard to the original building and the architecture of the surrounding area.

“The design, style and use of contrasting colours and materials are considered to enhance the existing industrial appearance of the college.”

Although officials recommended approval they recognised the college itself may not be in the best of locations.

The report added: “This is an application to extend an existing educational facility which is located within an established industrial area.

“While the location of such a facility may appear incongruous, the issue of the original choice of location for such premises is not under consideration in the terms of the assessment for this proposal.

“Therefore given the above circumstances, the principle of an extension of the present facilities is not considered to raise a conflict with policies contained in the current development plan.”

Chairman of the planning board Frank Robertson said the development would provide the college with a much-needed, fresh identity.

“The whole configuration will provide a much better identity and a clearly-defined entry-point to the college,” he said.

Josie Simpson said better signage needed to be erected to help direct people to the college.

Cecil Smith did not want to delay the project more than necessary. “It’s crucial that this goes ahead. I accept that there is not good signage, but I don’t want to delay it,” he said.

Mr Simpson said he merely wanted to pass information on to the developer on the need for improved signing, however.

Iris Hawkins said the plans, as laid out in a report, did not look as attractive as she had hoped, although she admitted they might have looked better in colour.

That did not stop her from moving the recommendation. She was seconded by Mr Smith.

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About Ryan Taylor

Ryan Taylor has worked as a reporter since 1995, and has been at The Shetland Times since 2007, covering a wide variety of news topics. Before then he reported for other newspapers in the Highlands, where he was raised, and in Fife, where he began his career with DC Thomson. He also has experience in broadcast journalism with Grampian Television. He has lived in Shetland since 2002, where he harbours an unhealthy interest in old cars and motorbikes.

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