Work on the new Anderson High School and halls of residence site at Clickimin will go on seven days a week, the council’s planning committee agreed on Tuesday.
But measures will be put in place to mitigate the noise impact to residents on Sundays.
The developer of the site, SIC children’s services, applied to increase the original six-day working to seven, proposing to start work at 9am on Sundays. Environmental health expressed concerns about this, and the times were subsequently changed to a 10am start and 4pm finish time. These times were unanimously approved by the planning committee.
A statutory consultation about Sunday working has been carried out with residents and no representations against the proposal have been received. Lerwick Community Council also had no objection.
Planning chief Iain McDiarmid said rock breaking and compressor work could be done on Sunday, but would belimited to certain areas of the site. He added there was “no option” other than to take the contractor’s word about this, and enforcement action could be taken if necessary.
Project manager Trevor Smith said the noise would not exceed 60 decibels, and monitored with noise-sensitive receptors place next to nearby homes. He added that rock-breaking would go on for six months.
Mr Smith said the project was now approaching “financial closure” with technical, legal and financial agreement close to being reached with partners Hub North Scotland and Scottish Futures Trust.
Work on the site’s surrounding paths and a new roundabout is already taking place, and Mr Smith said he hoped it would be possible to “mobilise the main contractor as soon as practicable”.
The “target date” is the end of May, and he said: “We’re working hard to reach it.”
He added that he was “expecting a heavy involvement of local contractors” in the site and ground works preparing the site for the main contractor.
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. Mr Smith said: “One of the benefits [of longer working] is that it will take advantage of the weather and longer daylight hours.”