Hotel project thrown out by planners
Plans for a new hotel in Brae have been thrown out by Shetland Islands Council over fears future housing provision may be lost.
The 120- bed development, with a new access road and associated car parking and footpaths, was proposed for south of Roebrek last year as a way of providing accommodation for BP workers.
However, the SIC’s planning department has rejected the plans following concerns the development was to be built on a site suitable for much-needed housing.
North Mainland councillor Alastair Cooper last year insisted a project to build two-bedroom houses would have left a better “legacy” to the isles.
BP says it is now reviewing its accommodation requirements for shift workers at Sullom involved in the terminal refurbishment and the new gas sweetening plant.
A document within the council’s planning pages said: “The key concern is that the proposed use for a hotel is to be located on a site with development potential that has been identified in Shetland Local Development Plan (2014) as being specifically for future housing provision.
“Hence any alternative use proposed for this site may therefore compromise the planning authority’s ability to provide adequate housing in this area in future and, as a result, set an undesirable precedent.”
BP spokesman Stephen Christie said: “Given the current business conditions being faced by our industry… we are reviewing our accommodation requirements for shift workers at SVT.
“As a result, the decision has been taken not to proceed with the hotel occupancy agreement at this time. We are now reviewing all of the available alternative accommodation options. We remain committed to having a rotational workforce comprising domiciled and non-domiciled employees at SVT, and to engaging with staff on alternative accommodation options as soon as possible.”
BP was previously keen on having a hotel, because it was seen as a way of assisting with changes in shift patterns among technicians and engineers from a five-day week to a rotational system of two weeks on and three weeks off.
Applicant for the project was Gove Developments Ltd of Newall Road, Hounslow. BP had an occupancy agreement for the hotel, but was not the developer nor responsible for the planning application process.
• See this week’s Shetland Times for more details.