Lerwick town centre will see a 20mph zone introduced
A 20mph zone is to be introduced on the road running through Lerwick’s Esplanade.
Councillors on the environment and transport committee backed the traffic calming proposals, which are part of an effort to make the town centre more pedestrian friendly and to reduce the amount of accidents in the area.
At the same Tuesday morning meeting councillors also decided to go ahead with a public consultation on further pedestrianising Lerwick’s Commercial Street, despite objections from political leader Gary Robinson.
Mr Robinson proposed an amendment which would have seen the council abandon plans to carry out a consultation but he was outvoted by five votes to three.
He said: “I have had representations indicating that there isn’t a huge amount of support [for further pedestrianisation] from businesses or potential shoppers on that part of the street.
“Frankly, I think we would be wasting our time asking for another consultation process.”
Retailers in the town centre had previously expressed dismay at the proposals with some fearing a detrimental impact on their businesses.
Convener Malcolm Bell also had misgivings about the consultation and said that he was “always concerned when officers seek approval from something which they have delegated power for”.
The committee’s vice-chairman Steven Coutts countered Mr Bell and Mr Robinson and said he had “had representations completely the other way.”
Mr Coutts said that for young families a feeling that Commercial Street was unsafe “was a big turn-off for going to the street”.
Shetland South councillor George Smith was “inclined to agree” with Mr Coutts and said that he felt that the council should be considering “methods to make the whole area safe”.
Following the debate the matter was put to a vote in which Mr Robinson’s ammendment was defeated.
The discussions around introducing the 20mph zone, which would run from Church Road and along the Esplanade up to North Ness, were less divisive and the plans were approved without objection from any members.