Sumburgh Head lighthouse is to undergo major renovations, it was agreed at a meeting of the planning board today.
The works will see better use being made of the A-listed building, some of which will be demolished, with original features reinstated and improved access through upgrades to the road and car parking to create a premuim tourist attraction.
New visitor interpretation facilities will also be created.
The Stevenson lighthouse, which dates to 1821, currently houses RSPB offices, a small service building used by the Northern Lighthouse Board and a holiday cottage.
The alterations will result in the west pavilion being turned into a self-catering unit, the east wing into a two-level visitor centre, the former oil store into a visitor centre reception and shop. There will be various other upgrades and restoration work to parts of the building which could be of interest to visitors, including those built during World War II.
A new building will also be built to adjoin the former keepers’ cottage, which will provide an educational facility.
Councillor Jim Budge, who seconded councillor Laura Baisley’s motion to approve the application, said: “It’s fine to see this application before us; it’s been in the pipeline for some time. If it wasn’t for this … the building could well have fallen into disrepair. It’s absolutely splendid this is being done.”