Work on the new Anderson High School and halls of residence site at Clickimin will go on seven days a week if a planning application is approved.
The developer of the site, the SIC children’s services department, has applied to increase the original application for six-day working to seven – and the council’s planning service will be recommending approval.
Planning official John Holden said the service had recognised the likely impact on residents, who would have expected a day of “respite” on Sundays from the building work.
He said measures to mitigate the noise impact had been considered by the service, which was now recommending a 10am start and a 4pm finish time. The previous application was for a 9am start to which environmental health had also expressed concerns.
Mr Holden said a statutory consultation about Sunday working has been carried out with residents and no representations against the proposal have been received.
One of the main benefits of the extended work, which will add 15 per cent of working time per week, is that it will reduce the construction period by up to 15 weeks, according to the planning application. It will mean the bulk of the earth work will be completed by September, and work involving specialist plant such as cranes can be done before the winter.
Seven-day working also makes the job more attractive to mainland sub-contractors, minimising travel and accommodation costs.
Meanwhile the future of the Knab site when the Anderson High School is vacated should become clearer shortly when a development brief is drawn up by the planning service.
The service will take advice from a report prepared by Architecture and Design Scotland (A+DS), which was aired at a meeting of Lerwick Community Council on Monday.
According to the report, the site should not be considered in isolation, but together with other amenities in the town.
Lerwick already had a “cultural destination hub” around Mareel and the museum, the report stated, a “business hub” in the town centre and an “education and leisure hub” around Clickimin.
It was possibly envisaged that the Knab site could become a “wellbeing hub” with “mixed use” and a proportion of “green space”. The listed buildings on the site would be retained.
According to the initial ideas of A+DS, the “mixed use” scenario would integrate “public and civic services with childcare at the heart”, possibly with space for lifelong learning, work, enterprise and leisure.
However, SIC corporate services executive manager Robert Sinclair said it was too early to speculate about future use of the site, although more might become clear in the next six or 12 months.
Mr Sinclair said there would be a “lot of public consultation”, and consideration would be given to “what is not existing” in the town.
He added: “We’re keen that when the site is vacated the site doesn’t fall into disuse.”
Regarding other vacated buildings, Mr Sinclair said the former Olnafirth Primary School was now “leased out on commercial terms” and the Freefield Centre in Lerwick had been “disposed of”. The council no longer had any interest in it, he added.