Plans for a private breakwater off Whiteness have been put on hold amid fears it could exacerbate ongoing coastal erosion in the area.
Members of the SIC’s planning committee agreed to defer a decision over the proposed construction at Ulya near Mousaness after hearing concerns it could lead to a high rise of water cutting off access to exposed properties.
A hearing in the Town Hall on Wednesday heard high tides were already flooding the access road to Mousaness.
Apart from the possibility of flooding, residents fear the scale of the proposed breakwater will be out of proportion to its location.
There are concerns it could have an impact on a colony of otters nearby, which has led Scottish Natural Heritage to call for a pre-construction survey to be carried out should the development go ahead.
Applicant Grains Brothers said council erosion engineers had maintained the 20m breakwater would bring no additional problems.
However councillor Laura Baisley said the actual size was closer to 32 metres, which would create “a huge visual impact on the area”.
Her call for a decision to be deferred to allow a marine specialist to examine the potential impact on the coastline was seconded by councillor Gary Robinson.