20th November 2019
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Councillors approve demolition of former Eric Gray centre

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Councillors have approved plans to demolish the former Eric Gray Resource Centre at Seafield at a projected cost of £200,000.

Members ratified the recommendation at a meeting of the full council on Wednesday following a brief discussion of other options.

The old care facility, which was built in 1978, closed earlier this year following the opening of the new Eric Gray just across the road.

However, the building has since been reopened to accommodate nursery children from Sound until building work at the primary school concludes next month.

Lerwick South councillor Peter Campbell asked what consideration had been given to finding another use for the building, adding that it had saved the council “a lot of embarrassment” having it to hand when required for accommodating the nursery pupils.

SIC chief executive Maggie Sandison said that “there were other options” for accommodating the children from Sound besides the former care centre but that the building was considered the most “appropriate”.

Assets manager Robert Sinclair added that the building had been “built for a specific purpose which makes it harder to repurpose”.

Both Mr Sinclair and Mrs Sandison also spoke of the need for the council to “reduce the estate” in order to make savings in areas such as building maintenance.

Mr Campbell asked about the potential for selling the building but was told that council valuers believed the site would have more value cleared than with an ageing building constructed for use as a care home on it.

A business justification case included with the agenda item states that the demolition works will cost around £200,000, while the cleared site would have an estimated resale value of around £360,000.

It said: “Any redevelopment of the site is wholly dependent on demolition of the buildings to provide a clear site. As long as these buildings remain, the site is compromised for development by the council or others and is devalued to account for the cost of demolition.”

Mrs Sandison added: “The value of the site with the building on would be less than £360,000.” Members unanimously approved the demolition.

About Keegan Murray

Reporter for The Shetland Times. Interested in politics, literature and music. Born and bred Shetlander. Long suffering Newcastle United supporter.

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