Councillors have agreed to sell two SIC properties in St Olaf Street as the first step in what could become a comprehensive firesale to provide a much-needed boost to the local authority’s coffers.
Members of the executive committee agreed in private last week to sell St Clement’s Hall and Craigielea. It is expected they will be advertised for sale early in 2012.
The old Craigielea building, which was used for special needs adults, has lain empty for over four years. It was estimated that refurbishing it would have cost nearly half a million pounds, and still wouldn’t have brought it up to scratch for use in community care.
St Clement’s Hall was built to provide St Columba’s Church with a hall, cost the princely sum of £1,600 and opened in 1911. Early in the last decade, it was rented out by budget salesman Chris Hodge for a time.
At this week’s Full Council, Lerwick South member Gussie Angus said he was “very disappointed” that the executive committee had been granted authority to sell off SIC assets without informing the Full Council first. Mr Angus is also irked that a full report promised on all the redundant properties which could be sold has yet to materialise.
Council leader Josie Simpson said: “Selling these properties will not only raise much needed cash for the council at a time when every penny counts, but will release us from the burden of maintaining and repairing two buildings. It is to be hoped these buildings will become assets to the community, either restored by private developers or taken over by community groups.
“Selling vacant buildings was something that came up several times during our recent series of public meetings on possible savings. Although we were already planning to sell these buildings before the meetings took place, it is good that our decision is in line with what the public were telling us.”