24th September 2018
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Councillors approve new 40-home Hjaltland development

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Tingwall is at last to benefit from a major new housing project after councillors gave the nod for 40 new homes to be built in the area.

E&H Building Contractors has been tasked with constructing the new development near the Strand at Gott on behalf of Hjaltland Housing Association.

The project will help alleviate an insatiable demand for new homes in or around Tingwall – a report before Wednesday’s planning committee heard only nine per cent of houses in Tingwall’s community council boundary are in the social rented sector.

It follows two previous failed attempts by Hjaltland to build similar major projects in nearby Veensgarth.

Those plans were thrown out amid fears good agricultural land might be lost forever, and local amenities would be too far away.

A financial leg-up from the council will help bring the two, three, four and five person units to fruition.

Last month members voted in favour of taking £3.5 million from its reserves to help Hjaltland build new houses in the isles.

The Tingwall development will be the largest of those projects.

Getting the new houses approved has not been plain sailing, however.

Residents at the Strand objected to the houses when it emerged the developer planned to block up access to the estate in favour of a new single access to serve both developments.

There were concerns safety would suffer if the road layout was changed.

However the plans were amended following consultation with the community. No objectors were present to air any grievances at the meeting.

Hjaltland’s development manager, Bryan Leask, told members the association had “a history” of trying to help housing in Tingwall, with the Veensgarth applications still “fresh in the memory”.

“The objectors to Veensgarth saw the Strand as a more suitable, well thought-out, sustainable development,” he said.

“The main objection was access. We’ve had consultation meetings and made changes. The changes we have made mitigated the objections to stopping up.

“The housing need in Tingwall has been well documented. Tingwall itself is one of the most high-pressure areas for housing need in Shetland.”

Caroline Miller wasted no time in moving the recommendation to approve. She was backed by Laura Baisley.

There was little appetite to criticise the plans, far less turning them down.

However Cecil Smith questioned whether enough parking spaces had been factored into the design.

Mr Leask said regular traffic assessments had found the average number of cars per property in the area was 0.7.

He added further research on other developments had found too many spaces had been factored in.

Laura Baisley said she was “relieved” to be in support of a housing application for Tingwall, adding she had “great confidence” in the layout and design.

However she wanted to know if a bus service would be nearby so residents could be encouraged to take public transport, however many cars they have.

Mr Leask said the road was designed in “a loop system” to allow buses and the essy kert easy access to the new development.

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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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