Council Members Criticize HES’s Decision to Turn Down Shetland Space Centre

23rd Apr 2021
Scott Hammond - Shetland Space Centre

North Isles member, Ryan Thomson, calls Historic Environment Scotland’s decision to turn down Shetland Space Centre application ‘bureaucratic nonsense.’ Spaceport project at Unst requires demolishing some of the former Skaw radar buildings that have not been used for half a century. HES, on the other hand, claims that the station has major historical significance and calls for a project redesign.

Shetland Space Centre Support & Opposition

Many authority representatives criticise the HES’s decision to turn down the Shetland Space Centre application. Ryan Thomson, coming from Unst, believes that calling the radar site ‘well-preserved,’ as HES does, is “insulting and sheer lunacy.” He states that the Lamba Ness station has been unsafe for decades and adds that these abandoned buildings turned into an eyesore a long time ago. Thomson believes that demolishing those buildings is the safest course.

Besides, Shetland Space Centre application proposal does not imply demolishing the whole radar station — just a part of it. What’s more, the spaceport project is of vital significance now, as it can create new jobs in the area and bring millions of revenue to the local economy. In contrast to that, preserving ruins from WWII can be considered a nice sentiment, but nothing more.

Beatrice Wishart, a Scottish Parliament member, voices similar concerns and calls HES’s decision extremely disappointing. She stresses that Shetland Space Centre will have a great positive impact on locals’ life, create new jobs for everyone who wants to stay and work in the North Isles, and improve the island’s supply chain. She describes HES’s decision as baffling and short-sighted.

Even Wishart’s primary contestant for the upcoming election in May agrees with those statements. Tom Wills goes even further and calls Lamba Ness station a “derelict brownfield site,” not a monument of historical importance. Wills wishes Shetland Space Centre good luck in their counter-appeal and hopes that sense will take over sentiment.

Shetland Space Centre does plan for an appeal, and its CEO promises to ‘vigorously contest’ HES’s decision. If the local council is minded to grant Shetland Space Centre construction approval, the case will go to Scottish Ministers.

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