More than £500,000 rent is paid for empty council headquarters

More than half a million pounds in rent has been shelled out by Shetland Islands Council on its vacant North Ness headquarters – a year on from the evacuation of the building.

Figures obtained by The Shetland Times under a Freedom of Information request show the SIC has paid £536,239.40 to landlord Shetland Leasing and Property (Slap) between 20th September 2016 and 26th September this year.

The local authority has also paid about £6,000 in electricity costs over the same period and about £18,000 in water costs.

Rent alone equates to the pay of roughly 18 teachers in Shetland.

According to Robert Sinclair, executive manager of the council’s capital programme, the water cost is “the rateable value/standing charges element of the bill” and water consumption has been “negligible”.

Director of the SIC’s corporate services department Christine Ferguson said more tests were to be carried out on the building in the coming weeks and there would be more information about this released to the press and made public.

She was not able to provide a timetable for the testing but further tests were “to get to the root of the cause”. Legal discussions about the building were ongoing, she said.

• See today’s Shetland Times for full story


Add Your Comment
  • John N Hunter

    • October 28th, 2017 22:48

    SLAP is owned by the Charitable Trust and its profits are Gift Aided back to the Trust so the rent paid by the SIC will be used for the benefit of Shetland.

    • Michael Garriock

      • October 29th, 2017 23:36

      This relies of two things.

      1) SLAP does actually turn a profit – I’m sure their accountants could arrange for them not to, if that’s what the directors wished. Just like any other commercial enterprise..

      2) That what the trustees of the SCT spend from available SCT funds ‘for the benefit of Shetland’, by their interpretation of the term, is also Shetland’s interpretation of the same term.

      Based on their decisions and actions of the last several years, it is a very arguable point that the SCT trustee’s interpretation of ‘for the benefit of Shetland’ has anything in common with of the majority of Shetland’s interpretation of the same term.

      In a nutshell, we can’t get rid of any SCT trustee, we can’t influence them, and they can just close the door on us and do whatever they please, while incestously replacing themselves with their like minded cronies in perpituity so as to pay lip service to keeping the OSCR quiet. So, whatever they get their hands on, Shetland can say goodbye to doing us any good, unless of course its one of the trustees’ pet projects. Currently on offer in this category, are windmills and more windmills.

    • Johan Adamson

      • October 30th, 2017 8:42

      That may be so, John, but meanwhile the SIC say they dont have enough money to run the ferries and SCT cant fund necessities. And up to now SCT has also been tightening its belt and reducing funding to the other trusts, welfare and also investing in VE which a lot of Shetlanders dont agree with. Yes if they would do some good with the money.

      It seems to be that the money should be going the other way, SCT to SIC – SCT giving to alleviate gaps in the SICs funding for schools and the elderly since we are a wealthy community and want education and welfare to be paid for.

      • Allen Fraser

        • October 30th, 2017 10:21

        A mill cannot grind with the water that has passed.

      • Johan Adamson

        • October 30th, 2017 12:26

        No doubt, Allen, it is a done deal, but surely they cant be liable for rent, it must be interest?

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