14th August 2018
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Museum plans mothballed

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Ambitious plans for a new agricultural museum in Tingwall have been mothballed because of a lack of funding.

Volunteers behind the proposal have struggled to secure capital over the last six years.

However a door is being left open to resurrect the project in the future should cash become available.

The committee of the Tingwall Agricultural Museum and Heritage Centre is still in place, and members hope to collect archive material which they hope will stand the organisation in good stead should the project take off.

An architect's impression of how the new agricultural museum would have looked.

An architect’s impression of how the new agricultural museum would have looked.

The decision not to proceed was taken at the group’s annual meeting last week.

The agricultural museum project has gained wide support since the plans were made public three years ago.

Local architects Redman and Sutherland drew up a simple, elegant design which was intended to house classic farming machinery and a base for people to learn more about how past generations worked the land.

However the anticipated £1.3 million development cost has proved beyond the committee’s reach, and more cost-effective plans to use an existing building instead have failed to gain momentum.

Group member, Drew Anderson, said the group was not walking away from the project.

“The committee felt that, following six years of work and having not gained access to any funding either locally or out-with Shetland to create a venue to put on show a very important part of Shetland’s heritage, we were left with two options.

“We could either close the book and walk away or put the project on hold. The committee made a unanimous decision that going on hold was best as the economic climate may change to allow us to proceed sometime in the future.

“We have looked at different options both to put up a new building and also changing existing buildings in Tingwall to suit our requirements but the money is simply not there.

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Architect Jim Sutherland (left) and Drew Anderson, at the 2010 public meeting when plans were revealed. Photo: Dave Donaldson.

“Over the last six years we have had an incredible amount of support and encouragement from the public and for that we would like to pass on our sincere thanks to everyone who has helped in any way, and it is such a pity that we have been unable to achieve what we set out to do.

“Although we have not been able to create a venue we are intending to try and create an archive on Shetland’s agricultural heritage. Should anybody have photographs, cine film or maybe just a story to tell and would like to share it with us please get in touch.”

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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