A special meeting of Shetland Islands Council’s development committee met to discuss the long-awaited Knab masterplan on Tuesday morning.
The masterplan had been developed over three years and had been subject to several workshops and an eight-week public consultation, director of development Neil Grant said.
The plan for the Knab site and the public responses to the consultation came under scrutiny from councillors at Tuesday’s meeting, with John Fraser and Peter Campbell both proposing separate amendments to the original motion.
Councillors were told that if they approved the plan it would become part of planning policy and would be moved on for consideration at the full council meeting, set to be held just after the development committee meeting.
Councillor George Smith queried whether the “significant representation” made by local sports groups, who had asked whether they would be able to use the site for activities such as hockey, baton twirling and indoor cricket, had been considered.
He was told by capital programme manager Robert Sinclair that there was an “ongoing dialogue” between these groups and the council, adding that they were aware that there was “sufficient interest in hockey” and that they would help any of these groups put together a business plan.
Mr Fraser had reservations about the old Janet Courtney Hostel, asking whether consideration had been given to de-listing this building for another use.
Development team leader Suzanne Shearer said that this idea had been floated past Historic Environment Scotland, but that any case to have the building de-listed would have to be “very strong”.
Mr Fraser argued that you could not “get a stronger case than community benefit”.
Later in the meeting, Mr Fraser tabled an amendment to the motion which included a plan to de-list the Janet Courtney Hostel, which was seconded by councillor Andrea Manson. However, the amendment was defeated 7-2.
Mr Campbell also voiced concerns about traffic around the Knab area, saying that he had spoken to Gressy Loan residents who had been “really concerned” about the potential bottleneck in traffic that the work would cause, arguing that this plan would add “more and more traffic in an already congested area”.
Mr Campbell also tabled an amendment to the motion later in proceedings, looking for an amendment to traffic flow in and around the site as well as the provision of a bus to go into the housing estate to collect elderly residents, rather than having them walk to the top of the Knab road to a bus-stop as mentioned within the masterplan. Again, this amendment was rejected 6-3.
The Knab masterplan will now go before the full council for consideration.
More in this Friday’s edition of The Shetland Times.