Community council backs social housing plans
Lerwick Community Council has backed plans to build 21 houses at the old observatory site in the town – despite objections from residents.
The social housing for Hjaltland Housing Association would consist of 12 one-bedroom properties, eight two-bedroom properties and one three-bedroom home.
If given the green light, they would be built on a site directly behind Hjaltland’s existing Nordavatn social housing site.
But residents who live in the five private homes in the old observatory area have objected to the plans.
In a letter to the council which several residents submitted, they have said the house plans do not respect the design or scale of existing homes and “would have a detrimental effect on the immediate neighbourhood”.
The proposed development, residents argue, is of “unacceptably high density” and “would lead to over development in what is a low density area”.
They noted there were already 22 one-bedroom homes at Nordavatn and said another 12 would not improve the neighbourhood.
“To build more single living accommodation would alter the fabric of our community greatly, we would go from living in a nice family area, to being outnumbered by single living accommodation, which in itself creates a problem.
“Noise disturbance would soon become an issue, the quantity of vehicles on the road would become problematic for everyone, especially the families who have children.
“Child safety is our main concern with so many single living accommodation surrounding us and our neighbours, already there have been incidents where tenants of Hjatland Housing Association have been wandering through private gardens, being abusive to dog walkers and a high volume of police traffic have been seen visiting Nordavatn regularly.
“These types of incidents will become more of a concern if the planning of this development goes ahead.”
Concerns have also been raised about the plans not having enough parking spaces, and disruption to residents in the private observatory homes caused by the building work.
According to the plans the site has been highlighted as having “development potential” under the council’s Shetland Local Development Plan 2014.
Last night residents Calum and Renata Sinclair, who live in one of the private observatory buildings spoke to community councillors about their concerns.
Mr Sinclair said told the meetingit was a family area and “it’s just far too much accommodation for the size of the area”.
He said if all these homes were to be built it would have “a huge negative impact on the area” and if the plans were more family oriented then he would not be here speaking to councillors.
Community council chairman Jim Anderson said he had spoken to Hjaltland chief executive Bryan Leask, who told him there were about 450 people in Lerwick on the association’s waiting list. Eighty-five per cent were in need of one and two-bedroom properties, said Mr Anderson.
He agreed there were not enough family properties in Lerwick, but added, “we have got to build what folk are looking for”.
More in Friday’s Shetland Times