The biggest housing development in Lerwick for decades could go ahead if a land survey now being carried out proves favourable.
The major development of up to 300 new homes would be built by Hjaltland Housing Association and cover a large site in the North Staney Hill area. If the project goes ahead it would be the biggest development on a single site since post-war times.
Proposals are at an early stage and Hjaltland has commissioned Redman Sutherland Architects to compile a report regarding the feasibility of developing the site for housing. RSA’s remit is to find out as much information as possible about the site to allow the Hjaltland management committee to make a decision whether or not to buy the land. It is understood the area is owned by SLAP, a company owned by the charitable trust.
No designs for the proposals have been made, but according to a scheme previously designed by the SIC roads department, it appears that the development could support 200-300 houses. They would be built on a 30 hectare site between Pegasus Place and the area towards Clickimin.
There is Scottish government help available to make this purchase, but the deadline is tight. According to the architects, their report must be ready by 13th February to fit in the Scottish government’s funding timescale of 13th March.
RSA describe this as a “one-off funding opportunity” which needs as accurate a report as possible to be submitted on time or the funding could be lost. The Scottish government has allocated £5.8 million for new affordable housing from 2012-15, and will offer more if a suitable site is found.
However, RSA said it would be a very difficult and expensive site to develop as, like Quoys which has 130 houses, it is on a steep hill and would involve digging out rock.
Hjaltland chief executive Bryan Leask said many other aspects of the ambitious proposal would also have to be considered. These include access, connections for water and electricity, the drainage system and the impact on the wider infrastructure of traffic and the capacity in the local schools, all of which could influence the density of development.
Mr Leask said: “There is a lot to consider before we look at purchasing.”
For full story see today’s Shetland Times.