Amenity trust faces 25 per cent maintenance cut
Difficult choices lie ahead for Shetland Amenity Trust as the pot of money used to maintain old buildings such as camping böds and lighthouses could be cut by 25 per cent.
That is the view of amenity trust chairman Brian Gregson who admitted some work would have to be delayed if the “pretty draconian” cut was to go ahead.
He said the trust had a large and varied range of buildings, and it would be difficult to maintain them with the budget being reduced by a quarter in 2015/16.
The decision is due to be made when Shetland Charitable Trust holds its next meeting on Thursday.
The charitable trust provides money for the budget and it is understood that it could be cutting its planned maintenance budget by a quarter.
The planned maintenance programme “ensures that certain buildings, equipment and other assets that the Shetland Charitable Trust have invested in are well maintained and in good working condition,” according to the charitable trust.
It is not clear whether the proposed maintenance cuts will affect Shetland Recreational Trust and Shetland Arts, which also receive budgets from the charitable trust.
Shetland Arts general manager Graeme Howell did not wish to comment on the matter, nor did recreational trust chairman Bryan Leask.
Charitable trust chief executive Ann Black was asked by The Shetland Times about the reduction in money for planned maintenance.
She said the charitable trust was due to discuss the budget report on Thursday and chairman Bobby Hunter would be in a position to comment on the decisions “after the meeting”.
Mr Gregson said the amenity trust was aware of the charitable trust reducing its spending and said he understood that was the charitable trust’s decision.
But he said there were no signs of the budget being maintained and described the possible 25 per cent cut as “pretty draconian”.
He said: “Are we going to do the roof on this building or repaint that one? … You can’t do everything like we used to and there’s going to be some pretty difficult choices along the way.”
Mr Gregson said there was a danger of building up problems for the future if maintenance wasn’t upheld. When you cut a budget by a quarter, you could only do three quarters of what you planned to.
He said: “The concern for the amenity trust as far as this is concerned is that it means some of our heritage and heritage buildings are definitely under threat.”
Asked about looking to external funding to help with planned maintenance, Mr Gregson said for things like painting camping böds and lighthouses, that money had to be “Shetland money”.
He added: “Unless you can make something a project that can attract external funding then it’s something that has to be paid for within Shetland.
• This week’s newspaper will include a report from the charitable trust meeting.