‘Botched, bureaucratic compromise’ (Councillor Jonathan Wills)

Sandy McMillan and I do not always agree but the latest instalment of the South Lochside helipad saga sees us on the same side. For a start, the helipad is in the wrong place. As I understand it, the helicopter pilots would always prefer to be well clear of houses, tall buildings, construction cranes or hills on their approach.

The obvious place for the emergency helipad is therefore the site of the former pump-ashore fish farm beyond Pullar’s Loch, along the Sea Road. When the pilots were asked for their views, I’m told it was their first choice.

I raised this at the Community Safety and Resilience Board (the former police and fire committee) and at the Planning Board, but to no avail. The only argument against putting the helipad there (or perhaps in a nearby park at Seafield) was the price of improving the narrow road along the shore.

Officials argued that this would cost a lot of money (the figure of £1m was mentioned, as it usually is when something they don’t want is suggested). They also said the existing road was too narrow and exposed for an ambulance to use it. To that, the obvious reply is “baloney”. If the police had to close the road temporarily for an ambulance to have clear passage, who would complain?

Mr McMillan is quite right to ask why those clever people who, despite these compelling arguments, decided to plant the helipad just across the road from my constituents’ homes, then compounded their error by making it too small. Didn’t they know the pad needed a tarmac area for the emergency crews to push the stretcher trolley from the helicopter to the ambulance, rather than bumping a casualty across the grass? If they didn’t know, why were they hired?

I hope I never have to take an emergency flight with the helicopter but, if I do, I’d rather the landing site had been chosen by professional aviators who know what they’re talking about, than being another botched, bureaucratic compromise.

Councillor Jonathan Wills


Lerwick South Ward.


Add Your Comment
  • Michael Garriock

    • August 9th, 2015 15:44

    Mr. Wills, One of the few things it seems possible to achieve a resonable amount of concensus on across at least moderately sizeable sections of the Shetland population, is “botched” “incompetence” by SIC “officials” and the “bureaucratic” machine they preside over.

    However, as things stand, you represent 1/22nd of the entity which both employs those “officials” perpetrating the “botched incompetence” and ensures the continuance of that very machine of “bureaucracy” that permits, facilitates and argubly promotes such a sorry and uncceptable state of affairs. Therefore, 1/22nd share of the responsibility for it lies entirely with yourself.

    Perhaps then, instead of just “makkin maen”, you were being heard and seen attempting to oust those “officials” guilty of “botched incompetence” and firestorm needless and pointless bureaucracy, public sympathy and support might well be forthcoming.

    The twenty two Councillors, of which you are one, are wholly responsible for the paid staff and the Admin system of the SIC, and its down to them, including you, to whip them and it in to shape, or be hung out to dry for their “botched bureaucratic incompetence”, not the public. The buck stops in the Council Chamber in the Town Hall, nowehere else.

  • Sandy McMillan

    • August 9th, 2015 23:55

    As the Councillor for the Lerwick South Ward, We the Residents thank you Jonathan for your support in our time of need, At the moment the planning or any other Department Connected with the Helipad seem to be doing as they want, We are not out to stop the Helicopter landing if it is a genuine Medi Vac, The Councils Department have not taken into concideration the resident feelings of a Helicopter landing within 80m or less of their property, or the age of most of the Residents, one of them is 94 years of age fought at Arnhem with the Parachute Regiment to help save this Country from the Nazi, The most of the remaining residents are Pensioners with a few Disabiled, So you see Councillor Wills we would be very grateful for all the help that the we can get, from all the Councillors for the Lerwick South Ward.

  • Sandy McMillan

    • August 16th, 2015 11:56

    The other day we had two landings of the Emergency Helicopter, after the Helipad at the rear of the Clickimin Leisure Centre had been reopened, The first landing at the rear of Clickimin went as expected, a few hour later the second Emergency Helicopter came in to land, This time it bye passed the Clickimin landing site, and landed on the football pitch, for what reason we do not know, all we all know as it is a Emergency Helicopter it can land where ever it likes, on both occasions it was on the ground for at least 30 minutes, with Decibel readings well into to 90+ well above the legal limit, The SIC have a monitoring device on the pavement across from the new disused Helipad, The question is why is it not being used, If the SIC had a ounce of sense they would have the monitor in use, before they spent Thousands of pounds on the extension to the new disused Helipad, With noise levels as they are this would be very unfair on the residents of South Lochside.


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