Young couple seek to make Hillswick kirk their family home

A couple who grew up in Shetland want to convert the historic Hillswick kirk into their new home.

Stuart and Karen Cotterell have lodged plans to transform the mid 19th century building into a five bedroom family home.

The Church of Scotland put the building up for sale in March 2021, seeking offers over £40,000.

Although Friends of Hillswick Kirk was formed to explore the possibility of community ownership, it concluded there was insufficient interest to pursue the purchase.

Opting not to buy the kirk, the group instead hoped a private buyer could secure its future, rather than allowing it to “become an eyesore in the centre of Hillswick”.

According to plans lodged with the SIC, Mr and Mrs Cotterell are a young couple with a family. They grew up in Brae and want to return to Shetland to make the kirk their family home. 

The proposals seek to leave the exterior of the building unchanged to retain its “character and visual significance”.

Internally, the layout would be adapted to create “cellular spaces” for accommodation.

Malcolmson Architects said the designs were intended to create an “open plan living space that retains the character and feel of the church and conserves as much of the original fabric of the building as practicable”.

It seeks to retain original fixtures for creative use within the interior.

Timber pews would be salvaged for seating, while cast iron columns and ornamental brackets would be retained to help “define the interior open space”.

The Church of Scotland had concluded the building was not safe to be used, as it had not been maintained, heated or ventilated for a number of years. 

Essential repairs will therefore be carried out including to the roof, insulation and render.

A decision on the application is due by 22nd September.


Add Your Comment
  • Iain Torrance

    • July 25th, 2022 19:28

    This is creative and courageous and I really wish them well. As one of its former ministers, the Hillswick Kirk is important to me, but times change and I hope it will become a very happy family home and so contribute to Northmavine’s future.


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