Knab plans scrape through in face of strong opposition from residents 

The next major milestone in the multi-million pound Knab redevelopment has been given the green light – despite major opposition from neighbouring residents.

The SIC’s planning committee today (Wednesday) approved the plans for infrastructure and public realm works on the basis that residents’ concerns would be taken on board.

Several objectors spoke during the meeting to highlight various issues – with parking and access chief among the concerns.

A total of 31 residents of Gressy Loan and Twageos had signed a joint letter objecting on the grounds of  “parking, traffic flow, road safety and the welfare of the general neighbourhood”.

Patricia Stewart spoke on behalf of the signatories and claimed that despite having raised concerns since the 2019 masterplan – they had still not been taken on board.

“Why bother with consultation?” she asked.

Councillors shared many of the concerns. 

Shetland Central member Catherine Hughson said she had been concerned about parking and access and felt there was “still much to do to alleviate the angst” of residents.

However she also “took some comfort” from the assurances made.

Shetland West member Mark Robison said it seemed “very short sighted” of the council to progress such a major development with inadequate parking.

Although the masterplan envisages a reduction in car journeys and greater active travel, Mr Robinson said the Shetland community still relied on personal vehicles.

He said the access to the site was “poor” and the overall plans “need more work”.

North Isles member Robert Thomson was also concerned with the access proposals, which he feared could result in accidents,

He said it was  “very, very worrying”.

Shetland Central member Davie Sandison said he was concerned that the residents “legitimate concerns” had not yet been fully dealt with.

But he also saw opportunities for these to be resolved through continued dialogue.

Committee chairman Robbie McGregor highlighted the great need for new housing – and suggested the concerns could be addressed by way of a motion.

Lerwick South councillor Cecil Smith proposed the motion on the basis the development would be taking place over several years providing opportunities for lessons to be learned along the way.

Mr Sandison seconded the motion.

The public realm stage of the project would include site levelling, drainage, roads and footpaths, landscaping and other miscellaneous works.

Housing and redevelopment of the retained buildings will be subject to future planning applications.


Add Your Comment
  • Mike Bennett

    • April 24th, 2024 17:41

    My understanding of planning is that it equates to taking advice and thinking ahead ie being proactive, thus avoiding any unnecessary mistakes.
    The SIC planning committee appears to have indicated that they are prepared to enter into the Knab redevelopment with no such confidence. Having brushed aside the concerns of residential consultees, they propose to hurtle headlong into the unknown with a weak reassurance that they will learn (presumably from their mistakes) along the way. A possibly unique reactive planning committee ?


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