Community group wants to take over hotel
A group of locals hopes to take over the Westings Inn in Wormadale, Whiteness and run it as Shetland’s first community-owned hotel.
The hotel, famed for its spectacular views to the west, is to be sold as the owners Bill and Alison Swift plan to retire.
Nearby resident Vic Thomas said there was a desire to keep it going as a local amenity. He told The Shetland Times that he and other like-minded individuals, who have formed the Westings Group, fear the building and land could be sold to developers, possibly for housing.
This would mean the loss of the last inn of its type in the West Side.
Mr Thomas has called a public meeting next week to discuss ideas for taking over the business and running it as a community enterprise. They hope t keep it as a hotel and expand the range of services provided for the benefit of residents and visitors.
Mr Thomas is chairman of the fledgling group. He said: “The last thing we want is a housing development. We’re looking at Shetland’s first community-owned hotel which would be more of a community asset than just a bar.”
Until recently the hotel’s accommodation was rented to incoming businessmen, with only the bar open to the public.
The hotel no longer does food for passing trade or tourists, nor has it held events such as quiz nights which used to be put on.
There is a campsite in the grounds, with hook-up facilities for caravans and a grassy area for tents. Mr Thomas said it had done well since the closure of the Clickimin site and was popular with cyclists.
It was in a “spectacular location” and, like the hotel, could be developed to its full potential. Je could envisage food being provided and more amenities for the general public.
“The people who use it [the Westings Inn] don’t want to lose it,” said Mr Thomas.
The public meeting would explore new ideas and gauge interest within the local and wider community, he said. If there was enough support, a business plan could be drawn up and funders approached.
• A public meeting is being held at the Whiteness and Weisdale Hall on Thursday at 7pm to 9pm to outline ideas to take over the business and run it as a community enterprise.
Full story, including reaction to the idea from Mr and Mrs Swift in The Shetland Times.