An application to extend temporary planning permission at the Sella Ness accommodation camp until 2026 has been rejected by the council’s planning committee.
Applicants Malthus Uniteam had sought to extend the camp’s lifespan for a period of six years, citing potential demand for itinerant workers from projects such as the proposed Viking Energy windfarm. The camp was originally granted permission to house workers involved in the construction of the Shetland Gas Plant.
The council’s planning department recommended that members approve an extension, but only one of two years, in order to see whether the demand cited by the applicant would materialise.
The application had been met with strong opposition from local hoteliers and accommodation providers after it was lodged with the council.
Objections were heard from Caroline McKenzie, of Scalloway Hotel, and Joe Rocks, on behalf of a consortium of accommodation providers in the North Mainland.
Officials reminded councillors that the potential impact on other businesses in Shetland was not a “material planning consideration”.
Members questioned whether the applicants had presented enough evidence to support their suggestion that the camp would be required to house workers for proposed construction projects.
Councillor George Smith said: “Notwithstanding the advice of the planning officer I see this as a speculative application. I haven’t seen anything that would suggest to me that there is a confirmed demand.”
Mr Smith moved that the application be refused, saying that the application ran contrary to three policies laid out in the Shetland Local Development Plan.
Mr Smith’s proposal was backed by councillor Emma MacDonald. No member of the committee was otherwise minded.
• More in Friday’s Shetland Times