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7N’s new Shetland neighbourhood wins council backing

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Shetland Islands Council has agreed that a 7N Architects masterplan for a new neighbourhood in Lerwick will guide future development on the town centre site

Councillors adopted the masterplan for the former Anderson High School at the Knab as supplementary guidance to its local development plan, subject to further consideration to traffic issues. This means the document will be a material consideration in any future planning applications submitted for the site.

Councillors also agreed the first stage in implementing the masterplan by approving spending £1 million on demolishing all buildings on the site except three listed buildings and the school’s former science block. Demolition is due to start later this financial year.

7N Architects’ masterplan, commissioned to address a lack of affordable housing in Shetland, proposes a mixed-use neighbourhood of between 120 and 140 homes across a range of types and tenures. Some of this could be delivered directly by the council.

The design features staggered building forms offset around intimate streets, spaces and residential courtyards designed in collaboration with Rankin Fraser Landscape Architecture. There is a central street that prioritises pedestrians.

Engagement workshops carried out by 7N Architects and Nick Wright Planning identified potential community-led uses for the historic buildings retained on the site, including an arts centre, innovation hub, student accommodation, sports facilities and space for start-up businesses.

7N managing partner Ewan Anderson said: ‘The Knab initiative represents a refreshingly innovative approach by Shetland Islands Council. It is a significant departure from how public property assets are commonly disposed of where the focus is often on capital value.

‘This project is about civic value and the long-term wellbeing of the Lerwick community.’

The scheme is expected to take eight to ten years to complete.

04 knab masterplan figure ground

04 knab masterplan figure ground

Masterplan - outlined in red

Project data

Location The Knab, Lerwick, Shetland
Type of project Masterplan for residential-led mixed-use neighbourhood including retention and reuse of three existing listed buildings
Client Shetland Islands Council
Architect 7N Architects
Landscape architect Rankin Fraser Landscape Architecture
Community engagement Nick Wright Planning
Structural and civil engineer David Narro Associates
Transport consultant Systra
Quantity surveyor David Adamson and Partners
Heritage architect Groves Raines Architects

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