Short shrift for Wills’ attempt to halt school plan

A second attempt in six days by councillor Jonathan Wills to halt the submission of a planning application for the £49 million new Anderson High School was resoundingly thrown out by the Full Council this week.

Dr Wills told fellow members that dictating the size of the school now closed off future options for education in Shetland and repeated his assertion that full appraisals of alternative sites to the existing one at the Knab had yet to be carried out.

But services committee chairman Gussie Angus said that while he agreed with much of Dr Wills’ analysis and had opposed the Knab site himself previously, that parti­cular argument had been lost under a democratic decision and the other issues he raised had been “tested three times if not more”.

Mr Angus did concede that “we must get the funding package sorted before we go very much further”, referring to ongoing discussions with Shetland Charitable Trust with a view to them paying for the school under a leaseback arrangement which will cost the SIC in the order of £4-5 million a year for around quarter of a century.

Dr Wills lost a vote on the issue by 16-2 after gaining the support of Shetland South member Allison Duncan, while councillor Gary Robin­son abstained.


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