The third and final phase of the major Quoys development in Lerwick has been officially unveiled, bringing to a close seven years of building and design in the area.
But Hjaltland Housing Association has warned the £5.2 million, 34-unit scheme at Grödians can only do so much to combat Shetland’s housing shortage.
Property services manager Bryan Leask said up to a hundred applicants could typically put their names forward whenever the housing body advertises new homes in the town.
“While it is fantastic to be able to offer those people on the waiting list and those registered as homeless an opportunity of a new home it is obvious that there is still a large unmet demand that must be tackled,” he said.
“When we advertise properties in Lerwick we regularly have almost 100 applicants put their names forward for consideration.”
He pointed to 10 new houses which have been built in Aith, along with an up-and-coming project in Cullivoe, as evidence Hjaltland was doing all it could to tackle the housing problem.
Jeff Goddard, chairman of Hjaltland Housing Association, said the new homes would begin to be allocated as early as next week, easing the strain on Hjaltland’s 600-strong waiting list.
Over £3.1 million has been provided by the Scottish government through a housing association grant to complete phase three, although Mr Goddard said less money was now being made available from Edinburgh.
“There is a political message, in that these schemes have levered in a lot of government money, and the government has changed the rules by making available, in future, less money per house.
“But we have worked with Shetland Islands Council to come up with proposals to still carry on developing.”
Completion of phase three at Quoys finally brings to a close one of the association’s largest and most successful developments.
It adds to the 83 homes which were completed during the initial phases of the scheme.
Mr Leask added: “We are absolutely delighted with the standard of design and finish that has been achieved at Grödians.”
He highlighted the use of the “home zone” principal, which encourages traffic to slow down by adopting special “lock blocks” for road surfaces. The result is more pedestrian-friendly, while still allowing cars to enter the area.
The latest development comprises:
• 12 two-person flats for rent;
• 12 four person houses for rent;
• Ten six-person houses for rent;
• One children’s home for the SIC.
A total of 13 private homes have also been built.
Also nearing completion is the new Baptist Church, which follows a deal allowing Hjaltland to take over the old church in the town to convert into flats.
The mixed tenure of houses are all connected to the district heating scheme.
Local firm Richard Gibson Architects was the designer and lead consultant for Grödians.
Project architect Adrian Wishart said: “I am extremely happy with how the design has turned out.
“As intended, Grödians has achieved a feeling of enclosure and safety from within the scheme, but avoided an insular appearance when viewed from outwith the scheme.
“We have had so many positive comments about the vibrant colours and folk seem happy with how Grödians relates to its surroundings.”
On-going planting works will see tree planting between houses and in street planters to encourage more shelter within the scheme which will hopefully enhance the area when established.