21st September 2018
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Town centre project manager stands down to concentrate on businesses

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The man at the helm of an initiative aimed at bringing brighter prospects to Lerwick’s town centre has stood down suddenly from his role.

Laurence Smith has resigned as project manager of the local BID project, which hopes to enliven the street and bring much-needed vibrancy and confidence to the area.

His resignation was announced at one of the project’s regular meetings on Wednesday evening.

Mr Smith refused to comment on his decision when contacted by this paper today.

Assistant manager Christina Irvine is expected to perform Mr Smith’s role within the project. She has been involved in the project from the start and said she was not concerned by having to bring it to completion on her own.

“He [Mr Smith] just felt he had that many commitments that he wasn’t feeling he could put his all into the project anymore. He has got an awful lot of work with his three businesses,” she said.

She added she was busy finalising a business plan which is due to go to the council soon for a funding allocation, although so far the amount of cash available has not been decided.

After that the plan will be voted on by businesses that initially put forward ideas for improvement.

“The ideas came from surveys. We surveyed businesses in the area as well as their customers and employees,” she added.

“The council will decide what they want to put in by way of funding and then after that the business plan will go to all the businesses involved and we will hold a final ballot. The businesses will decide whether or not they want to go ahead with it.”

Chairman of the BID, Harry Jamieson, agreed Mr Smith had made the decision after finding he had too much on his plate.

“He seemed to think it was too much. There was nothing cynical behind it,” he said.

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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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