More than £500,000 rent is paid for empty council headquarters
More than half a million pounds in rent has been shelled out by Shetland Islands Council on its vacant North Ness headquarters – a year on from the evacuation of the building.
Figures obtained by The Shetland Times under a Freedom of Information request show the SIC has paid £536,239.40 to landlord Shetland Leasing and Property (Slap) between 20th September 2016 and 26th September this year.
The local authority has also paid about £6,000 in electricity costs over the same period and about £18,000 in water costs.
Rent alone equates to the pay of roughly 18 teachers in Shetland.
According to Robert Sinclair, executive manager of the council’s capital programme, the water cost is “the rateable value/standing charges element of the bill” and water consumption has been “negligible”.
Director of the SIC’s corporate services department Christine Ferguson said more tests were to be carried out on the building in the coming weeks and there would be more information about this released to the press and made public.
She was not able to provide a timetable for the testing but further tests were “to get to the root of the cause”. Legal discussions about the building were ongoing, she said.
• See today’s Shetland Times for full story