Almost 200 people have expressed an interest in the council’s plan to provide allotments in different areas of Shetland.
There have been 101 enquiries in Lerwick, Gulberwick and Bressay, 30 in the North Mainland, 26 in the South Mainland and 34 in the West Mainland, Scalloway and Burra.
Two sites, at Mossbank and Sandwick, have been identified but councillors agreed to North Mainland member Alistair Cooper’s suggestion at this week’s infrastructure committee that the Mid Lea site in Mossbank was unsuitable and other sites should be examined. “I believe folk at Mossbank want allotments; I don’t think we should put them at Upper Lea – you’re never going to get prized leeks at the Voe Show from land at Upper Lea,” he said.
Lerwick South member Jonathan Wills said there was “some urgency” to get money – Shetland Allotments Association hopes to be able to secure funding from Scotand’s Climate Challenge Fund – and that there was no need for a lengthy consultation process on something “pretty simple”. “It doesn’t have to be particularly good arable land,” he said.
But councillor Betty Fullerton said that while she understood there was a rush to try and get external funding, the 20-year projected lifetime of the allotments was a long time and it was vital to identify the right sites before pressing ahead.
Once the approval of council-owned land is approved and planning permission obtained, it is hoped that the development of sites could begin by spring.