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Business Park on North Yell set to expand and create jobs

Published: 03/12/2021

A project to expand a business park on one of Shetland’s North Isles, has secured investment totalling over £500,000 from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and Scottish Government’s Marine Scotland Fund (MSF).

Community development group, North Yell Development Council (NYDC) is undertaking ambitious developments at Cullivoe Harbour on the island of Yell to help local firms to grow, create new jobs and attract more visitors.

With a population of around 200, the north-eastern community has become a dynamic centre of fishing, aquaculture, renewable energy and marine tourism. Ten serviced sites for new or expanding businesses will be created following high demand from local companies, the majority of which operate in the marine sector.  

HIE is investing £248,545 in site servicing costs for the phase 2 project to extend the existing business park at Cullivoe Harbour. Working in close collaboration with Scottish Government and local authority partners, Marine Fund Scotland has awarded £250,000 and Shetland Islands Council an additional £25,000 to enable this Phase 2 project to be completed by Spring next year.

This key infrastructure development is expected to lead to the creation of around 25 new jobs in the next three years.

The new area has been designed to reduce environmental impact as far as possible in relation to carbon emissions. This includes materials excavated being recycled for use on site and a future phase of the project is likely to see increased renewable energy development including onshore power for vessels, and vehicle charging points.

Cullivoe is Shetland’s third largest fishing port and ranked 8th in Scotland with annual fish landings totalling around £6.9m.

The business park expansion will treble the size of the Cullivoe Industrial Estate, adding 12,000m² to the existing 5,810m² of land under NYDC ownership at the business park.

The original business park, created in 2003, has already been hugely successful in helping local industry flourish, employing 19 people at 3 businesses and supporting the export of valuable produce.

NYDC recently undertook research with local businesses, which gauged that many firms operating in the marine sector were keen to expand their premises and operations at the extended business park.

Phase 1 of the industrial estate expansion project involved site clearance and excavation for the business park. Construction is currently underway on the creation of a new marina with a 28-berth pontoon for community and visitor use as part of the first phase of developments.

NYDC has already successfully levered in £1.8m of grant funding for these two projects, from the Scottish Land Fund, Regeneration Capital Grant Fund, Coastal Communities Fund and Shetland islands Council, as well as committing over £400,000 of their own resources.

Katrina Wiseman, area manager at HIE in Shetland, said: “We are delighted to support this community led infrastructure project, that will enhance Cullivoe’s already impressive track record in contributing to the social and economic wellbeing and growth of the region.

"Extending the business park will enable the growth of businesses on Yell and create well paid jobs in the marine sector, ultimately supporting the retention of families in the island and attracting skills and talent to the area. This would not have been possible without close working relationships with our key partners including Marine Scotland."

Rural Affairs and Islands Secretary Mairi Gougeon, said: “This is an exciting development and the funding underlines our commitment to supporting rural and coastal communities.

“Creating jobs across a spectrum of fishing, aquaculture and renewable energy will deliver wider benefits across the local and regional economy and I wish the project every success as it continues to grow and help deliver sustainable communities in the process.”

Andrew Nisbet Director of NYDC said: “Without this funding award we would not have been able to undertake this project at this time. We are extremely appreciative of the support and encouragement we have received from both HIE and Marine Scotland, as well as the funders of our phase 1 project. 

“This will allow our community to fulfil aspirations for the business park and marina development, that have been pursued for the last 11 years. Demand for sites on the business park has been high, with all sites set to be occupied on completion. This project also represents the first major community payback from our windfarm, which we hope will be the first of many."

Phase 2 construction on the island will get under way this month and the new business park will be completed by the end of March next year.

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