First council meeting to take place at St Ringan’s next week

History in local politics will be made next week when councillors meet for the first time in their new chamber at the former St Ringan’s Church.

The interior of the building, which was occupied by Shetland Library until late last year, now features a full-length table as the main focus of the room.

The desk incorporates USB charging points and plug sockets, and each place at the table has a wireless microphone and speaker console, forming part of a full conference system.

Improved access for the public is promised as part of the move, with seating for up to 20 people, and facilities for media representatives.

A new audio and video system has been installed, with speakers and screens throughout the room, along with wall-mounted cameras to allow for the recording and broadcasting of meetings.

The room has been redecorated and recarpeted, and a hearing loop installed.

Shetland Islands Council and the earlier Lerwick Town Council have held their meetings at Lerwick Town Hall since it was opened in 1883.

The chamber in the town hall has been a multi-use room, often used for other purposes, including weddings, citizenship ceremonies, and community events.

Shetland Islands Council says the relocation of the chamber to St Ringan’s now means that the town hall will have greater capacity for civic and community activities.

Convener Malcolm Bell said: “I’m absolutely delighted to see the council chamber move to St Ringan’s before the end of this council term, as planned.

“It’s important to have a dedicated space for debate by our elected representatives as well as an easily accessible area for the public and media to be present too.

“The additional space in this building, along with improved technology, will improve public access and engagement.

“If we believe that local democracy needs to be revitalised, then we need to invest in this digital infrastructure.

“This is an important step forward for democracy in Shetland and I am grateful to all the staff who have worked hard to make it happen.”


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