The divisive Living Lerwick scheme has achieved a narrow victory in a ballot for renewal – thanks to support from the council.
Business owners within the scheme’s catchment area voted in favour of returning the organisation for a second term by a total of 49 votes to 40.
But many business owners who spoke to The Shetland Times in June, after councillors decided to back the scheme, argued that the authority’s six votes gave them unfair weight in the ballot.
The council receives one vote each for the Town Hall, the taxi rank on Victoria Pier, the public toilets on the Esplanade, the Bressay Ferry Terminal, the Bressay Ferry Terminal waiting room and the Bridges Project on Pitt Lane.
If those six votes had gone the other way the result would have stood at 46 to 43 in favour of discarding the troubled business improvement district (BID).
In recent years the BID has been plagued by a number of high profile complaints including their role in council plans for pedestrianising Commercial Street and the Christmas tree fiasco of last year which saw the Market Cross effort lambasted as the worst in the country.
Living Lerwick had boasted in an email announcing the ballot, however, that there were many positives to be taken from their first term, arguing that they had made significant contributions towards the task of rejuvenating the street.
Among those achievements were the winter festival, summer flower schemes and £140,000 of external funding brought to the street.
• For reaction see next Friday’s Shetland Times.