The Moorfield Hotel will be closing its doors on 9th September, in what has been described as a “devastating blow” for the 45 workers at the trouble-torn accommodation provider in the North Mainland.
The axe has been hanging over the Brae development since earlier this month when energy giant Total made the decision to stop housing Shetland Gas Plant workers at the hotel – a move which the hotel’s owners warn will also put other hotels in the area at risk.
The coronavirus crisis and the impact it has had on tourism has not helped either.
A statement from owners BDL Hotels said: “Sadly, Total has not renewed its contract with us, and we have still not been formally advised where the Shetland Gas Plant workers will be moving to.
“Given recent press reports quoting Total we believe that they will be moving to the Sella Ness temporary accommodation camp.
“Unfortunately, in these challenging economic times, there is virtually zero alternative business to fill the 100 bedrooms at The Moorfield Hotel and remaining open has become completely unviable.”
The hotel’s core function since its opening seven years ago was to provide accommodation to workers at the Shetland Gas Plant.
But the Moorfield has faced problems ever since the Sella Ness accommodation camp was given the green light to remain open until the mid 2020s.
Earlier this year a Scottish government reporter ruled a Shetland Islands Council decision to turn down the Sella Ness request had been unreasonable.
BDL says it “remains incredulous” at the reporter’s move to overturn the SIC’s decision. It is continuing to contest the decision at the Court of Session.
“We and our fellow Shetland North Accommodation Providers have been feeling the impact for some time and the recent economic challenges have amplified the fallout caused by the reporter’s decision.
“We believe that the unexpected long-term existence of the Sella Ness temporary accommodation camp will put all hotels in the North Mainland of Shetland out of business. Without the camp, many businesses would thrive in healthy competition and be able to meet all the hospitality needs of local people, leisure
tourists and itinerant workers.
“Once all the hotels close, a far more basic hospitality offering will remain for locals and tourists as the camp only provides for itinerant workers.”
The statement also said: “Our hearts go out to the 45 people who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own. They are the ones that have been most harshly impacted by the extension of planning for Sella Ness temporary accommodation camp and Total’s decision to reduce their costs by downgrading from hotel to camp