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New facilities to provide boost for visitors to Scalloway

Published: 14/12/2021

Work is underway on a project to improve visitor facilities in central Shetland after securing a £133,754 investment from HIE.

Scalloway Community Development Company (SCDC), is driving forward the creation of a new camping and recreation facility at Asta in Tingwall.

The Scalloway Camping and Recreational Facility (SCARF) will see 1.7 acres of land developed at the site, which will offer 10 motorhome pitches, eight tent pitches and two wigwams. An amenity building will house shower, toilet, laundry and kitchen facilities, designed in a way to reduce environmental impact and encourage recycling and increase awareness of the natural environment in and around the site.

The total project will cost around £669,754 and in addition to HIE’s contribution, it is being supported with an award of £375,000 from the Scottish Government’s Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund (RTIF). The balance is being met by investment secured from Shetland Islands Council, Crown Estate, Shetland Community Benefit Fund and SCDC’s own funds.

The overall vision of the project is to enhance the range of facilities for local people and visitors to Shetland and in particular to attract more visitors and business to the village of Scalloway.

SCDC is a relatively new development company. Chair of SCDC, Davie Sandison, said: “The project was one of the top priorities identified in the 'Recreate Scalloway' process following extensive local consultation. We are delighted to be able to deliver this project so quickly after it was identified as a need.

“I would like to thank the professional team that have helped to deliver the project and all the funders who have made it possible in a difficult financial climate.”

The location will offer visitors easy access to nearby activities such as trout fishing, golf and archery. It also links to many routes and core paths for walking, cycling or running.

Mhari McLeman, head of strengthening communities for HIE in Shetland, said: “Tourism is one of our key industries in Shetland and our communities perform a vital role in the delivery of assets and services to support this sector This is an excellent example of a community led tourism infrastructure project that will boost the local economy, support jobs and strengthen community resilience whilst enhancing Shetland’s wider tourism offering too. We are really pleased to provide support and look forward to the new site taking shape.

“There has been growing demand for facilities like this and our investment enables this recently established community enterprise to drive forward a key project from the ‘Recreate Scalloway’ Place Making Initiative.”

Managed by VisitScotland on behalf of the Scottish Government, the RTIF was created to improve the quality of the visitor experience in rural parts of Scotland that have faced pressure on their facilities and infrastructure due to an increase in visitor numbers.

Steve Mathieson, VisitScotland development manager, said: “Developments like this are vital for the future of tourism in Shetland, especially with the increased popularity of motorhome and camping holidays.

“This new site is very convenient for the two communities of Lerwick and Scalloway and is also in a great location for outdoor activities. The Tingwall valley is popular for golf, angling, archery, walking, cycling and pony watching – there is a layby for coaches to pull in and watch the ponies - so it is ideal for visitors and families and great to support the local community in developing these facilities.

“It aims to reduce the impact of visitor numbers on local communities and facilities and create a more collaborative and sustainable approach to infrastructure provision and long-term maintenance of local facilities for the benefit of communities.”

Environmental considerations were an important part of the design phase. The amenity building will feature a green turf roof, reducing the need for air conditioning in the summer and heating in winter months. The roof and the planting of native trees will contribute to the biodiversity in the area and reduce the visual impact of the site.

SCDC hopes to further develop the facility in the future including creating a footpath to link the campsite with the village via Berry Farm. This will provide a safe walking route for all ages and encourage more people to exercise safely outside.

SCARF is due to welcome its first visitors in summer 2022.

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