Views from the Scord 30.01.09

Harbour news

It was another good week for fish landings at the Scalloway market with boats depositing a total of 1,950 boxes for the week to Friday. This was comprised of a combination of landings direct to the market and consignments via lorry from elsewhere in Shetland. The vessels contributing to this were the Defiant, Ocean Way, Resilient, Fertile, Radiant Star, Valhalla, Venture, Arkh-Angell, Guardian Angell, Jenna Maree, Tranquility and Venturous with the biggest single landing coming from the Radiant Star with 331 boxes.

The regular Scottish Sea Farms chartered well-boat Ronja Settler was joined in running salmon to Scalloway by the smaller well boat Reflex which has been operating from the harbour for Hjaltland Sea Farms. The Reflex was operating in conjunction with the work boat Johanna G in harvesting locally.

Aqualine fish cage manufacture continued at the usual hectic pace on the West Quay through the week with at least four new cages launched for deployment to sites in the surrounding area.

Fire festival tickets

The Scalloway Public Hall would like to issue a final request to those who have still not claimed a refund for their fire festival tickets and wish to do so, as there are a number that have not yet been returned. Should you wish the money for the tickets to go to charity, as some people have chosen to do, then it would be preferable for you to get in touch with the hall committee to let them know of your wishes. Contact Sandra on (01595) 880429.

Hjaltland houses

There was a celebratory mood in the East Voe of Scalloway this week as Hjaltland Housing Association handed over its latest batch of new homes at Endavoe to new tenants and in doing so heralded another substantial investment in modern housing in the Shetland.

Totalling £3.2 million, the funding for the scheme has largely come from the Scottish government, to the tune of £2.2 million from the Housing Association grant scheme, with the remainder made up by the housing association through borrowing from outwith Shetland. This aesthetically pleasing and hi-tech new housing development has been built primarily as a family-oriented scheme to match the increase in demand for larger houses that Hjaltland has experienced. Comprising of a range of dwellings, the scheme has eight houses designed for six person occupancy, six for four persons and a further eight for three person occupancy.

The houses themselves are fitted and finished to the highest standards but overall set a standard that Hjaltland regards as aspirational, by way of a combination of design, building methods used and the location they are sited in. Each individual site is spacious with substantial garden plots and less of the cheek-by-jowl layout often criticised in recent housing developments. The primary reason for this is the adoption of hi-tech ground source heat pump heating systems throughout the properties, which require a fairly large garden area from which to draw heat for the property.

The introduction of this type of heating in this case is through under floor heating on ground floors, accompanied by individual digital room-stats to allow comprehensive temperature control. The upstairs rooms are heated by conventional radiators using the same heat source. This type of heating system is now proven to reduce heating bills substantially and was fully investigated by HHA. The buildings are also effectively double-insulated to minimise heat loss. The heat pump provides pressurised hot water supply for the properties, with an electric boost triggered when necessary. As a measure of the hi-tech nature of the system, should a fault arise in any of the installations, the heating units can be monitored and even controlled remotely by engineers by use of a modem device placed on site.

Another piece of space-age technology in every house is the “whole house ventilation system with heat recovery” which in simple terms transfers heat from hotter rooms in the house to cooler rooms by a system of ducting, while also removing excess humidity from the air. The warm air drawn in heats fresh air returned to the building. In effect, someone having a shower in the bathroom, or cooking in the kitchen will be providing low-cost heating to the living room or a bedroom. Aside from the obvious heating benefit of this system for the tenants and improved air quality, it will also prevent long-term deterioration of a property through damp or condensation.

All the houses are designed to be light and airy with full height windows and patio doors on south facing aspects and are made both future-proof and comfortable to occupy by the adoption of wide lobbies and open spaces internally, low level light switches and high level sockets so that tenants of any age or ability should find them easy to live in. The entry vestibule also serves as a utility room, leaving substantial room in the already capacious kitchens. Bedrooms all have built in storage and in each design of house there is substantial communal storage by way of cupboards or loft space.

Each home also has TV splitter boxes and cabling throughout for TVs to be sited in main rooms and bedrooms, and Hjaltland has even provided cabling and base plates externally for satellite dishes to be fitted to, should the occupant choose to.

As a measure of Hjaltland’s dynamic approach to tenant occupancy, one of the homes has even been custom built to incorporate full disability access features to suit the needs of a tenant who may have mobility problems in the future, but moves into a home which at present is visually almost identical to the others of similar size.

Externally the timber clad homes (asides from the spacious gardens, chipped drying areas and concrete paths) share a wide access road and decorative lock-block parking areas. The access road is later to be fitted with speed control measures too. The bright, colourful exterior paint finish is to be assessed every three years and fully repainted every six. Each site boundary is marked with attractive natural timber fencing and besides individual household waste lockers there are communal recycling bins.

Further down the line, once landscaping of the area in front of the housing is completed, Hjaltland also intends to improve an area with seating and trees, to improve a fenced green grass play area and to plant shrubs along the paved walkway that joins the housing scheme to the main East Voe pavement. They have also used downward facing streetlights to minimise light pollution.

The whole site, known locally to be fairly boggy, has been provided with drainage and the seaward side is even protected from drainage backflow by way of a sophisticated attenuation system, meaning the site should incur no problems from ground saturation in the long-term.

Speaking for Hjaltland, Paul Leask said: “The quality of this scheme is down to the contractors, and was accomplished to this standard through their involvement throughout the project. From the start this scheme had all our aspirations in it for energy efficiency, heating, ventilation. Hopefully it will be a really nice place for people to live in and if we can take away some of the concerns about the cost of living through the energy efficiency measures here then all the better. We are delighted to get it finished.”

Four of the properties come under the shared-ownership scheme that Hjaltland offers, allowing tenants the opportunity to gain a step on the property ladder. The ownership deal is offered in increments of 25 per cent, meaning a tenant is only required to seek a mortgage of a minimum of quarter of the value of the house in order to gain partial ownership and subsequent blocks of 25 per cent can be bought until the property is owned outright. With the current financial instability on the property market this is particularly beneficial to those seeking to fully own property in the future.

Half of the tenants come from the SIC housing list, which is shared with Hjaltland and gives prospective tenants the option whether or not to apply for the houses available.

Among the first to move in during the phased handover lasting three to four weeks were Scalloway family Stewart and Joanne Sutherland and their two young children Leighton and Tyler. Speaking for them all, Joanne described the house as “brilliant”. “I was convinced that we wouldn’t get one but when we got the phone call I was really excited. It’s a fine area and a good big garden and we’ll have really good neighbours.”

The main contractor for the build was DITT, with Peter Johnson Partners as architects, Arch Henderson Partnership as structural engineers and Michael Thompson as quantity surveyor. The ground source heat pumps were supplied and fitted by ICE Energy and the ventilation systems by Nuaire.

The handover of the Endavoe properties comes in the same week as the final flat in Anderson’s buildings, above the former Post Office, was handed over to Hjaltland to gain occupancy.

Burra History Group

The Burra History Group is holding another of its popular makkin nights at Easthouse starting at 7pm tonight. An ideal chance to get together for a yarn, a cup of tea and some knitting. If you would like to attend and need transport to Easthouse, call Wilma on (01595) 859669.

On Tuesday there is a calendar photo night to decide which photos will be used in next year’s calendar. The request for photos has already had an excellent res­ponse and members of the group would like to thank all those who have been in touch so far.

The offer is still open to anyone who would like to submit photos and this can be done by contacting Adalene on (01595) 859623 or by attending the evening. Anyone wishing to attend and requiring transport should also call Adalene on the above number.

Mark Burgess


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