Local consultancy firm AB Associates has been appointed to undertake a feasibility study into the future of the long-underused Tingwall glasshouse.
Environmental action group Transition Shetland has led the efforts to bring the 24-year-old glasshouse back into use.
The building has lain virtually empty for many years, and the group is proposing to turn the 2,500 square metre space into a community area where individuals, groups, small businesses and public agencies can grow food.
Transition Shetland has received £10,000 from the National Lottery Awards for All scheme and £9,000 from Leader (£9,000) to help pay for the feasibility study to be carried out over the next three months. The group is also investing £1,000 of its own funds.
Scalloway-based AB Associates is working together with Richard Gibson Architects, RG Jamieson structural engineers, David Adamson Chartered Surveyor, Ness Engineering and GB Design Services to establish the building’s state of repair and what investment would be required to bring it back into production.
They will also look at what facilities and services would be needed, assess the business case for several options and identify which one is most likely to result in a viable and sustainable project.
The consultants are also working with Transition Shetland to assess potential community involvement in this exciting project, and have produced a short questionnaire to gauge public interest.
This questionnaire is now available for download on Transition Shetland’s website www.tran sitionshetland.org and at www.abassociates.com.
The responses will be considered ahead of public meetings to be held in September to build support for the venture, and anyone interested in the project is encouraged to fill one out.
Transition Shetland will also be taking part at the Ideal Homes Exhibition in Clickimin on 14th and 15th September, which will provide a further opportunity to find out more about the project.
Transition Shetland chairman Pete Bevington said: “We have been working on this project for two years and it is very exciting to be at the stage where we can afford to send in the experts to find out if there is a realistic chance of bringing the Tingwall glasshouse back to life.
“Lots of people have told us they want to see the glasshouse back in use, so now we hope that they will come forward over the next few months and get involved in making this dream a reality.”
Andrew Blackadder of AB Associates added: “This is a very interesting and challenging project and we are very pleased to have been asked to carry out this feasibility study on behalf of Transition Shetland.
“This will not be straightforward so we have assembled a highly qualified team of experts in their field and look forward to tackling the large number of challenges that lie ahead.”
Anyone interested in getting involved is encouraged to fill out a questionnaire and submit it by 2nd September to firstname.lastname@example.org, or by post to AB Associates Ltd, Kirk Business Centre, Scalloway, ZE1 0TF. Interested parties can also contact Transition Shetland or AB Associates directly for more information.
Transition Shetland is part of a worldwide network of communities facing up to a future with climate change, peak oil and resource depletion by encouraging projects to help them become more resilient by providing for their own needs.