By RYAN TAYLOR
A ROW has broken out over a proposed new meat processing plant at the former No Catch factory in Scalloway.
Shetland Abattoir Co-operative Limited (SACL) is in the throws of buying the Blydoit plant from receivers of the defunct fish farming business Grant Thornton.
If all goes to plan the organisation hopes to have the new specially developed and fully modernised facility up and running early next year.
A public meeting will be held in the Scalloway Hall next Wednesday at 7pm for the organisation to put forward its proposals to the community.
But a south end councillor has criticised the plans for relying on the public purse to fully develop the facility.
Allison Duncan, himself a crofter, said the isles were already well served by the slaughterhouses in Boddam and Laxfirth.
An offer for the Blydoit plant from SACL has already been accepted by the No Catch receivers, but the prospective new owners are putting together a case for funding from the council’s development committee to help develop the facility.
It also must obtain planning consent for a change of use from the council’s planning department before work on the plant can begin.
Mr Duncan said the plant was too close to a residential area to be considered seriously for a slaughter-house.
“If anybody wants to put up a private slaughterhouse with their own money that’s not my problem, but when they come to the council for the public pound I want to know what’s going on.
“I think it’s ridiculous to put a slaughterhouse in the middle of a new housing scheme. It’s absolutely ridiculous.”
He said if the existing slaughter-houses were not fit for purpose they would be prevented from operating.
“If they didn’t comply with the legislation the vets would close them down.”
A spokesman for SACL said a new processing plant was badly needed.
He said the slaughterhouse at Laxfirth could only slaughter sheep, while the second plant was not enough to keep up with demand for beef.
“I’ve no doubt there will be concerns from some of the local residents as to what the facility is going to be like, and there might be one or two folk that would seek to stop it.
“But the industry is certainly unanimous in supporting the new plant because the existing facilities can’t meet modern standards and are unfit for continued use.”
“We’re working on funding at the moment and the public meeting we have called is to do with consultation with the community.
“We see it as critical that everybody understands what we’re trying to do.”
He said the Scalloway factory had been fitted to a very high specification with sterile surfaces, insulated walls and double glazing throughout, which fit the legislative requirements for a modern meat unit.
“It is a facility for the 21st century. There will be no noise, odour or site of livestock around the building.
“The industry has come up with this solution where the SIC has been unable to because of the state aid issues, and we believe what we’re proposing to do is extremely good value because of the high quality of the facility available.”