Councillor worried that Fetlar breakwater delay will result in loss of European funding

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A councillor has voiced his frustration over the Fetlar breakwater delay despite assurances that a planning application can still be submitted while land ownership negotiations continue.

North Isles member Josie Simpson said he was “very worried” that the building project might not get under way in time, which could result in the council being denied £300,000 in European funding. Last year delays caused the grant offer to lapse and the council had to re-apply for the money.

It emerged last week that a problem acquiring land from a tenant meant work on the £3.2 million project was facing another hold-up. Council officials were subsequently sent to Fetlar to seek a speedy resolution to the problem.

On Monday head of transport Michael Craigie moved to reassure members of the SIC’s transport partnership ZetTrans over the hold-up.

He said the planning application could be submitted while efforts were made to reach an agreement over the land. Questioned by Mr Simpson, he admitted the project had not yet gone out to tender.

Mr Craigie said the aim was to be on site by the end of summer into autumn, despite concerns from some members over who had “ownership” of the issue – the question of Fetlar’s breakwater has so far been dealt with the harbour board and the development committee, as well as ZetTrans.

Mr Simpson said: “I thought there was no doubt this project would be up and running by the summer. Somebody has to get a hold of this project or we stand a chance of losing our European funding.”

Mr Craigie said he would come back to the committee with a “clear and unambiguous” programme of how the project should proceed.

However, Mr Simpson added: “I’m getting very, very worried about this.”


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