Residents living near the Knab have accused the council of failing to listen to their warnings on parking when ploughing ahead with the site’s redevelopment.
Householders in Gressy Loan have signed a joint letter raising “major concerns” about the lack of parking spaces in the plans for the former Anderson High School site, which they claim is based on a substantial underestimate of traffic volumes.
Their objections were raised in response to last month’s consultation into the “public realm” aspects of the development, which is set to provide 140 new homes.
The residents claim the 160 parking spaces outlined in the plans were too few and failed to comply with the council’s own policy – which requires 1.5 spaces for every one-bed unit.
And with New Life Shetland’s new church/hall set to accommodate more than 200 people for services, weddings and funerals, the residents say the pressures on parking spaces will inevitably result in visitors using the roads around the site, including Gressy Loan.
They said this would cause “hazards” for other vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists, particularly in the dark winter months.
Gressy Loan resident James Johnston, writing in a cover note, said residents were “very disappointed” that SIC officials and councillors had not paid heed to the concerns they raised during earlier stages of the consultation.
“From the latest proposals it is clear that the designers are seemingly ignorant of the existing Gressy Loan houses/roads, drives, pathways,” he wrote.
“We understand that the project is now being moved onto ‘consultants’ who are even more removed from the resident population, and we are concerned that as residents we will effectively have no say in what gets built or how changes are made to roads.
“We hope that councillors will listen and show empathy for our health, wellbeing and ultimately our safety and ensure that no more money is being wasted on these crazy proposals and that a more suitable infrastructure alternative be investigated.”
He said residents would be “flabbergasted” if the SIC’s roads team would allow such “crazy proposals” and questioned whether its traffic management officials has been consulted.
Discussing the objections at last night’s (Monday) Lerwick Community Council meeting, chairman Jim Anderson said the letter raised a “couple of good points”.
He said the council’s plans “flew in the face” of its own policy on parking and failed to come up with any mitigation.
Councillor Stephen Leask said the council had been looking to come up with an “innovative” policy on parking based on less vehicle usage.
The meeting also heard of existing problems with parking around the site, including in Knab Road.
Mr Anderson said the council’s own staff were parking there illegally – and yet “nobody at the council will do anything”.
The SIC’s development director Neil Grant said: “We are aware of the concerns which have been raised by residents; these have been logged and included in the recent consultation on the infrastructure and public realm for the site, which includes parking and access.
“The points which have been raised and the feedback will be considered in a planning application for the Knab site infrastructure and public realm, which will be submitted later in the summer.”