The worst council ever (Nicol Thomson)

Why doesn’t the council have any money for the Toft pier? They could easily take money out of their reserves as they do for other things.

They found £5.5 million for the Sumburgh Airport dispute, and another £4.5 million for the failed Norröna venture. And the headquarters across the road from Mareel, now apparently collapsing badly, cost over £7 million.

Instead of continuing to waste money the council should get Toft pier done. People have been wating on this for some time now.

They could easily take many people out of the infrastructure department and they would never be missed. What the council has to pay to keep them would easily pay for the Toft pier repairs.

This is by far the worst bunch of councillors we have ever had in Shetland. They don’t care about us who are living in the isles. They get everything paid while the public are having to pay more for less services. I would clear the lot out and start again with people who are willing to speak for the islanders.

The council is taking people up here and paying for them to stay in hotels while they complete architectural drawings for buildings. Have we no-one in the council department who can do drawings for these buildings, without having to take up people from Glasgow for instance?

Nicol Thomson
11 Meadowbank Road,


Add Your Comment
  • Andrea Manson

    • December 6th, 2016 20:30

    As a member of ‘the worst Council ever’ its only fair that Nicol appropriate blame where it is due. Your poor opinion of us is based on misconceptions.
    The Norrona (launched in 2003) cut Shetland out of its itinerary in 2006….. The building owned by SLAP which until recently housed the Council at North Ness was opened a month before this current Council were appointed in May 2012……. while we may have inherited some contentious issues from previous Councils which we have had to deal with we, hopefully, will leave Shetland in a better position than which we found it.
    I admit we have, often reluctantly, reduced staff in all departments across the Council and will no doubt have to make further cuts if the Scottish Government reduce our revenue support grant.
    There has been a sad lack of maintenance on some of the small piers throughout the isles for many years preceding this Council. At Toft, damage done by a heavy vehicle exacerbated the deterioration of the structure. The Harbour Board await reports on the options available to us and are very well aware of the necessity of continuing to have this essential port for our smaller boats and shellfish fishermen. The current closure is a result of Health and Safety concerns. We are looking at every option to allow landings to continue at Toft.
    The Council have not made any final decision on the future of Toft Pier. When a report comes before the SIC I do hope that all elected Councillors will support our recommendation that we provide a new/enhanced pier at Toft. The Council Officials are having some difficulty in producing a report justifying the provision of a new structure as so little has been paid in Landing Fees over the Toft Pier over the last years – hard to believe as according to recent figures it is the second busiest pier in Shetland for the shellfish boats.
    This Council has many good people who fight the corner for the Isles on a daily basis. While fresh faces, enthusiasm and new ideas will be welcomed and encouraged to form a new Council in May 2017 I do hope some of the alleged ‘worst Council ever’ will still be around to steer them in the right direction.

  • Ian Tinkler

    • December 7th, 2016 11:24

    Shetland Island Council has some great people working for it and some brilliant Councilors. Sadly, as I have stated before, the Council is hobbled by three layers of control and regulation, Brussels, Westminster and Edinburgh. Shetland will stagnate under this weight of bureaucracy unless we can take control, with Shetland having far greater autonomy. All development appears dependent on grants, often awarded for the daftest and wholly unimportant projects. How can the EU, UK Government and a centralized, apparently punishing and resentful, SNP/Scottish Government, based hundreds and hundreds of miles away, rationalize on Shetlands vital needs and priorities.

    • Michael Garriock

      • December 7th, 2016 19:49

      Agreed Ian Tinkler, among the Councillors and council employees, there are numerous good people, who do deliver despite the obstacles in their way. Much though could be achieved by tackling the alarming levels of incompetence, inefficiency and outright thumb fiddling that exists within the bureaucratic machine of the beast.

      While increased autonomy would address one side of the problem, until and unless whatever form local government takes, operates with an on the ball, competent and lean “management & admin structure”, there is still another half to the problem, namely, bureaucratic bloat, incompetence and inefficiency, lying festering, while consuming a frightening level of resources that in these times could be put to far, far better use.

      Obviously “”management & admin” only come under the remit of Councillors indirectly, but unless Councillors exert downward pressure to drive the change, it will never come from within the beast itself. Department Heads, Managers etc need to be made to put their respective houses in order, and if thats resisted by them, or by the Chief Executive on their behalf, they should be considered part of the problem also.

      Autonomy will take time and work, ordering competency and efficiency, only one SIC meeting.

  • Robert Wishart

    • December 8th, 2016 10:56

    Worst ever? No way! Many of the problems this council has wrestled are the result of the decisions of previous councils – as Nicol Thomson himself points out. This council has stemmed the bleeding of our reserves and been restrained in spending on the grandiose pet projects of the sort so beloved by all previous incarnations of Shetland Islands Council. That’s no mean achievement.

  • Johan Adamson

    • December 9th, 2016 9:07

    There must be a happy medium between all this austerity (which is not creating any wealth in the country) and spending. What are we keeping it for? What are the priorities? How much is going to be spent and on what? I would have thought our piers were very important, keeping jobs in rural areas, in traditional industries, otherwise the whole of Shetland will depopulate and we will have nothing.


Add Your Comment

Please note, it is the policy of The Shetland Times to publish comments and letters from named individuals only. Both forename and surname are required.

Comments are moderated. Contributors must observe normal standards of decency and tolerance for the opinions of others.

The views expressed are those of contributors and not of The Shetland Times.

The Shetland Times reserves the right to decline or remove any contribution without notice or stating reason.

Comments are limited to 200 words but please email longer articles or letters to for consideration and include a daytime telephone number and your address. If emailing information in confidence please put "Not for publication" in both the subject line and at the top of the main message.

200 words left

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Get Latest News in Your Inbox

Join the The Shetland Times mailing list to get one daily email update at midday on what's happening in Shetland.