24th May 2020
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St Olaf’s appeal

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An appeal has been lodged against a council decision not to allow the development of flats at the back of St Olaf’s Hall in Lerwick as part of a major refurbishment.

Written submissions have been prepared ahead of a site inspection by a secretary of state-appointed reporter who will visit the isles in July before deciding the issue.

Construction work is already underway to convert the building – bought from the Church of Scotland by West Fish (Shetland) Ltd in 2007 – into a fully modernised office complex.

The original application was lodged with the SIC’s planning board last year when directors of the company, Angus Grains, Alistair Goodlad and John Goodlad, drew up plans to turn the dilapidated former church and community centre at the top of Church Road into upmarket offices.

They also wanted to replace the ugly concrete extension at the back of the hall with eight flats in two four-storey blocks.

The proposed design by architect Alan McKay was praised at the time, however the plans were thrown out by councillors after nearby residents said they would lose daylight once the flats were built.

Concerns were also raised that parking – already at a premium in the area – would be made even worse by the development, despite assurances from West Fish that tenants would be encouraged to walk or cycle.

Work began on the building in March and substantial progress has been made in transforming it into offices.

Alistair Goodlad refused to comment on the appeal, while John Goodlad was said to be out of the country when The Shetland Times tried to contact him.

Mr Grains did not respond to calls.

About Ryan Taylor

Ryan Taylor has worked as a reporter since 1995, and has been at The Shetland Times since 2007, covering a wide variety of news topics. Before then he reported for other newspapers in the Highlands, where he was raised, and in Fife, where he began his career with DC Thomson. He also has experience in broadcast journalism with Grampian Television. He has lived in Shetland since 2002, where he harbours an unhealthy interest in old cars and motorbikes.

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