The Shetland TimesThe Shetland Times Shetland News, Sport, Jobs, Properties, Shop Fri, 24 Oct 2014 10:12:16 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Cracks appear in Living Lerwick Fri, 24 Oct 2014 10:12:16 +0000 Some retailers have withheld levies due to the organisation charged with rejuvenating the town centre claiming it has lost its focus and is of no benefit to businesses.

One businessman has described the payments to Living Lerwick as “blatant robbery”, while another has accused the organisation set up to breathe new life into the street of losing its way.

But Living Lerwick has fought back, insisting the levies are needed to help it attract £869,000 in funding. The body, which is appointing a new recruit to communicate with shopkeepers, has stressed the “onus” is on businesses to become involved in the process and make themselves heard.

Changes in the town centre have been in the offing for two years after local businesses voted for the area to become a Business Improvement District, or BID.

Living Lerwick was formed to help see the BID to fruition. It paved the way for levies to be collected from businesses in the old town centre conservation area – essentially from The Spiders Web to Cee and Jays, although it also includes George Robertson’s after the electrical outlet said it wanted to join.

The move followed fears the town centre was flagging under the threat of internet sales and the big buying power of supermarket giant Tesco. The levies vary depending on the business.

Now, concerns have been highlighted by owner of Glen Orchy Guest House in Knab Road, Trevor Howarth, whose wife runs the Phusiam Thai Restaurant at the Market Cross.

He criticised the initiative, and questioned what it did for local businesses.

“What is it going to do for my wife’s restaurant? What are they going to do for me, give me a box of flowers? Give me a plantigrub outside the door? I don’t want one, if I did I’d make my own.

“They are not going to do anything for me and I object to handing out £400 for nothing. I work for my money.”

Asked if he had withheld payment of the levy, he replied: “Yes. I’m going to have to pay it, I’m told. But why should I? To me it’s blatant robbery.

“I can’t see what they can do to benefit Lerwick, other than bring in trade. If they had a website, for all the shops in Lerwick … then you’re giving a service.

“A year ago they were opting in. I didn’t want to know about it so I avoided it. Now I’ve got a bill.

“Fifty-five years I’ve been here, and I’ve done everything I can for the benefit of the community I live in.”

Another concerned businessman is Laurence Smith, of Smiths of Lerwick. Mr Smith was one of the founding fathers of the old town centre association, and says Living Lerwick has done nothing new.

“I imagine businesses, in the main, feel there has been very little communication, and a complete lack of a pro-active approach to the vision of the BID. Where was Living Lerwick when this 5p on the bags came out?”

He described initiatives such as floral baskets and street foys as nothing the old association hadn’t already achieved.

“We did all that with a very small amount of money collected from the businesses who were willing to pay.

“I feel aggrieved at this point that it [Living Lerwick] is not working out how it was planned to work out.

“I just sit here from day to day and never hear anything. You get an occasional email, but it’s just not doing what I ever expected it to do. We don’t have a grip on the vision for the BID. We always wanted to see a vital, vibrant town centre, and something Shetland could be proud of.”

He said the street had still not recovered from its downturn in trade, notably since Tesco opened and extended its business in South Road.

“The effects of the internet, and the fact the council allowed Tesco to develop its supermarket into a one-stop shop has taken footfall from the area.

“We worked so hard to get that BID pulled together, and to see it coming to next to nothing is very disappointing.”

John Watt, of Thulecraft, was on the Living Lerwick Committee at its launch, although he has since stood down. He said it had achieved much, but added more communication with retailers would be helpful.

“When I was in Living Lerwick I was surprised by how much they did, but I think most of the other retailers probably don’t appreciate what’s going on in the background.

“We had a meeting once a week, and I knew everything that was going on. Since I left Living Lerwick … I felt there was a lack of communication with the rate payers.”

He said attractions such as the Christmas festival and the Harrison Square development had proved to be highlights in the town.

“At the end of the day, it’s surprising what did go on.”

A common thread among retailers were those who did not wish to be identified. One who refused to give his name said he had stopped paying his levy last year.

“There are a number that have stopped. It seems to be a bit of a shambles, to be honest. Some have never been approached to make a payment. To be quite honest it’s a farce, as far as I’m concerned.”

He added he had spoken to another retailer who was considering withholding payment.

However, BID manager Christena Irvine launched a strong defence of Living Lerwick. She said the levies were needed to help boost the case for hundreds of thousands of pounds the town is seeking through external funding.

The body hopes to gain money from the Townscape Heritage Initiative. Run as part of the Heritage Lottery Fund, the initiative offers grants from £100,000 to £2 million to help towns and cities improve their built historic environment.

It is hoped money will also come from Historic Scotland’s Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme, to which Living Lerwick has sent an application in conjunction with Shetland Islands Council.

“Really, what it’s [levies] used for is to lever in additional funding. I have to make applications to various different bodies. We’ve been creating reserves in year one and two so we can lever in a big lump of funding in year three.

“When you’re doing that you can’t spend an awful lot on staffing – if we did that they wouldn’t be happy – and we’ve operated very lightly over the first two years. When you’ve only got one member of staff working, … you don’t have time to communicate all the time.”

She said things would improve after a new recruit is brought in at the end of the month to “take control” of communications, freeing her to focus on the essential funding applications.

“All the businesses are regularly invited to different things. Really, some of the onus has to be on the businesses to be part of this. At the end of the day this is about all the businesses working together to make the town centre better. It’s not about me sitting in this office doing everything.

“If they [businesses] feel they have not been consulted with, they could have attended the business forums that were held in March and April this year. [They were] not as well attended as you would hope.

It’s very easy to sit and complain and not take part. It’s not so easy to make a difference.”
Chairwoman of Living Lerwick is Cynthia Adamson, of M&Co. She said the organisation was “where we thought it would be” at this time, but warned “things don’t happen overnight.”

“I can understand that if some businesses do feel they have not been communicated to from us, because Christena has been working her socks off behind the scenes on funding applications, which is sizable.

“It’s over £800,000 which is going to be huge money for the town centre. But it’s an open door here. The directors all work in the vicinity, and would be very happy to see anyone.”

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MARELDA, PARK ROAD, SANDWICK Fri, 24 Oct 2014 07:00:58 +0000 Detached two storey property in a quiet location with fine views to the south-east towards Mousa, to the south over Sandwick Bay and round to the west. The accommodation is bright and spacious with two large reception rooms and an expansive kitchen and dining area. The five bedrooms make this property an ideal
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Accommodation:- Porch, Hallway, Lounge, Kitchen/Dining Area, Sitting Room, Utility Room, Store, Office, 5 Bedrooms, 2 Bathrooms, Garage and Workshop.

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OWNER DRIVERS Fri, 24 Oct 2014 07:00:57 +0000 Allied Taxis Shetland Ltd

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HGV MECHANIC Fri, 24 Oct 2014 07:00:55 +0000 Streamline Shipping Group

Applicants must be time served with a recognised qualification.

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Please apply in writing with a copy of your CV to:

For an informal discussion or if you have any questions please phone

Mark Sawkins,
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Tel. 07551 126341.

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Morning Cleaner Fri, 24 Oct 2014 07:00:47 +0000 SHETLAND CLEANING SERVICES

Monday to Saturday
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To apply and for further details
Tel. Bigton 01950 422319 office hours Monday to Friday or
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FULL TIME NIGHT PORTER Fri, 24 Oct 2014 07:00:40 +0000 KGQ Hotels

Apply in writing to Queens Hotel or

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PILOT / ASSISTANT HARBOURMASTER Fri, 24 Oct 2014 07:00:34 +0000 Lerwick Port Authority

A position has arisen for a Pilot / Assistant Harbourmaster to assist with the safe navigation of vessels within the Pilotage Limits of the Port of Lerwick.

Based in Lerwick, Shetland, the postholder will train to become a Licensed Pilot for the Port, providing assistance to shipmasters in the safe navigation of their vessels within the Pilotage Limits of Lerwick Harbour. Responsibilities include providing a high level of marine expertise at all times to ensure safe and smooth marine operations within the Port, including providing cover in Port Control.

Applicants should ideally possess a minimum of a UK Chief Mate STCW REG II/2 (Unlimited) Certificate of Competency.

Preference will be given to applicants with one or more of the following:

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Applicants must be physically fit and possess a Department for Transport Medical Examination for Seafarers (ENG1).

The post is on a fixed salary basis working a shift rota system.

For further information regarding the post contact Captain Calum Grains, Harbourmaster on (01595) 692991.

To receive an application pack, please contact our reception or email

Applications marked ‘Private and Confidential’ should be submitted before noon on Thursday 20 November 2014 to:

Sandra Laurenson,
Chief Executive,
Lerwick Port Authority,
Albert Building,
ZE1 0LL.
T: +44 (0)1595 692991

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1 GARDIE COURT, LERWICK, SHETLAND, ZE1 0GG Fri, 24 Oct 2014 07:00:24 +0000 Retail premises FOR SALE OR LET situated in a prime location in the Town Centre of Lerwick at the Market Cross. The property
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Other upper floor properties along Commercial Street are residential. Change of use would be subject to consents and any interested party should satisfy themselves by contacting the Local Planning Office directly.

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Plant Engineer Fri, 24 Oct 2014 07:00:22 +0000 DITT

A plant/vehicle engineer is required to join our team who carry out the maintenance and repair of site plant and company vehicles.

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Applications to:

Mr G. Irvine,
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23 GRESSY LOAN, LERWICK, ZE1 0YB Fri, 24 Oct 2014 07:00:20 +0000 Detached, three-bedroom bungalow situated in a quiet residential location by the coast with uninterrupted sea views. Fully enclosed site with substantial garden/lawn areas. Fully double-glazed with oil-fired central heating. Within walking distance of the local high school, small golf course and all local amenities/the town centre. Ideal
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To view: telephone Lerwick 692006.

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