Blasting rocks to make way for new housing should be handled to minimise disruption to neighbouring residents and high school pupils, community leaders have said.
Lerwick Community Council discussed Hjaltland Housing Association’s Staney Hill development at its meeting last night (Monday).
The Staney Hill Masterplan for around 300 homes has already been approved in principle by Shetland Islands Council in 2018.
However, the latest consultation, which launched last month, is seeking views on the more detailed proposals for phase one of the development. This includes 120 new homes, offices, a 1km spine road connecting North Loch Drive to Wista as well as a green corridor to the east.
The community council gave a generally positive assessment of the proposals, despite questions around traffic, building methods and the impact on neighbours, including the nearby Anderson High School.
The project will include blasting rock from the southeastern hillside to make way for an area of housing off North Loch Drive, referred to as the “Terrace”.
Given how close it is to the high school and its halls of residents, as well as other homes, community council chairman Jim Anderson called for assurances that the construction would be timed to avoid disruption.
He said however the blasting was carried out it would involve “a lot of activity on the site” and noise would need to be kept to a minimum when the bairns were at school.
“It will be interesting to see what they will provide to deal with that,” Mr Anderson added.
SIC member Peter Campbell also warned that the Covid-19 situation may result in a “completely reorganised school day”, which could mean different timings for when the area was busiest.
Rocks blasted from the hillside are set to be used to produce the fill material for the spine road, thereby reducing the amount of imported quarry material.
Community council member Arwed Wenger said it seemed like a “good solution”.
However, he also raised concerns about the potential impact on traffic in the area, which he said was already a problem around peak times.
Mr Wenger suggested the houses should be accessed from a road higher up the hill, rather than North Loch Drive.
Vice-chairman Gary Robinson explained that North Loch Drive had already been designed with the expectation it would accommodate housing. He said there was not enough space for an extra road.
“I think it’s a well designed and well laid out scheme,” Mr Robinson said.
“Given the constraints around that site, which we know from Historic Scotland, I think they’ve done a really good job.”
The public consultation continues until Friday 5th June.
Visit www.pjparchitects.co.uk/north-staneyhill for more details.