The first of three phases of public consultation on the development of Lerwick’s Staney Hill is due to take place over the next fortnight.
Hjaltland Housing Association, which bought the land after planning permission was granted last year, hopes to develop part of it to meet housing demand in the town.
Between 250 and 400 houses are expected to be built, depending how the site is developed.
Some of the housing may be provided through the sale of serviced sites to private house-builders. A public open space and office development may also feature on the site.
The association has commissioned architects Redman Sutherland to prepare a “masterplan” – required as a planning condition – which will specify the layout of housing, roads and open spaces.
Redman Sutherland project leader Iain Malcolmson said: “Building on the Staney Hill site obviously presents challenges. Parts of it are very steep and elsewhere it is boggy.
“It’s very exposed too. Views from the Broch of Clickimin are to be protected, so there is to be no development on the skyline when seen from that direction.
“Our job is to work out how the area can be transformed into a place that offers a really attractive environment, with good provision of all the essentials for modern living.”
The consultation programme includes several events between May and the year’s end, and will include exhibitions, drop-in sessions and workshops. These are planned to take place at three main stages – initial ideas for the development of the site, consideration of draft options and plan.
Mr Malcolmson added: “We’re now at stage one. Before work gets under way in earnest we’d like to find out how people feel about the area and we’d welcome initial ideas about the best way of developing the site.
“We’re making available a questionnaire, which can be completed online via a link from the project website, www.shapingstaneyhill.com. Paper versions will be distributed to households living near the site too.”
Exhibitions illustrating the site will be in place from tomorrow at the Clickimin Centre and the Toll Clock Shopping Centre. A drop-in session will be held on Wednesday 25th May at the Staney Hill Hall.