Street furniture and plants, improved access to the lanes and better lighting are to be introduced in a bid to enhance the appearance of Lerwick town centre after a major grant was awarded by the Scottish government.
Just over £300,000 is coming from the Town Centre Regeneration Fund. It will go towards a series of projects costing £627,000 mooted in the recently published Lerwick Town Centre Action Plan 2009-2012.
The remainder of the money will come from Lerwick Old Town Development Association (LOTDA), Lerwick Port Authority, Lerwick Boating Club, Lerwick Town Centre Association and Shetland Islands Council.
Other work will include signage and information boards, improvements to commercial premises and improvements to the small boat harbour already under way.
Council planning official Jon Molloy said: “I am very pleased with this funding offer we have received from the Scottish government because we can now move on, with immediate effect, with the joint Lerwick Town Centre Action Plan’s proposed projects. I would like to thank all the members of LOTDA, other partners, SIC staff and members for their help in putting together the action plan and this funding application.”
Isles MSP Tavish Scott also welcomed the announcement, made on Friday. He said: “I’m obviously very pleased that government money is being allocated to Shetland. Lerwick town centre regeneration is an initiative I’ve been involved in and supported since I was a council member. I look forward to seeing great improvements in the town.”
Highlands and Islands Tory list MSP Mary Scanlon claimed it was her party that had secured the funding, which is worth £20 million across Scotland, in negotiations over the current Scottish government budget.
“My trips over the years to Shetland have continually highlighted to me how important tourism is to the island and I hope this money will further enhance the town and encourage more visitors to Lerwick and the surrounding communities.
“This funding would not have been available if Labour and the Liberal Democrats had succeeded in their plans to block the Town Centre Regeneration Fund. It is further help for struggling communities in Labour’s recession. long with the substantial business rate reductions we secured it is clear that help for our towns and small businesses only happens with Conservative pressure.”