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Commercial property: Survey highlights demand for more business premises in Shetland

Katrina Wiseman, area manager for Highlands and Islands Enterprise in Shetland.
Katrina Wiseman, area manager for Highlands and Islands Enterprise in Shetland.

A survey carried out by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has shown there is demand for more business premises in Shetland to help firms start up and grow.

The study was carried out at the end of last year in partnership with Shetland Islands Council, Hjatland Housing Association and Shetland Arts Development Agency.

Thirty businesses, community groups and social enterprises responded.

The survey was aimed at assessing levels of demand for both commercial land and property.

The research shows a strong need for workshops, offices and manufacturing space from a wide range of businesses and organisations.”

Katrina Wiseman, area manager for HIE in Shetland.

More than 10% of responses came from inward investors in the food and drink, manufacturing and aquaculture sectors, highlighting the potential for industry and population growth.

A range of sectors including space, community development, engineering and software development took part.

The research found 75% of businesses would prefer to purchase instead of renting a property.

Ambitious project on Yell

Many participants felt there was little suitable commercial property currently available in Shetland.

North Yell Development Council is undertaking ambitious developments at Cullivoe harbour to help firms grow, create new jobs and attract more visitors.

The project secured around £250,000 from HIE and work is already under way to create 10 serviced sites for expanding businesses, most of which operate in the marine sector.

‘Really useful feedback’

The survey findings are being shared by partners to help better plan for future potential demand for land, industrial workshop, laboratory or office space across the islands.

Katrina Wiseman, area manager for HIE in Shetland, said: “This is really useful feedback for us and for our partners to investigate future options to help address demand.

“The research shows a strong need for workshops, offices and manufacturing space from a wide range of businesses and organisations who want to expand and create new jobs.

“This requirement is expected to grow in the future as the economy recovers from the impacts of the pandemic.”

A ferry crossing the sea to Yell.

Ms Wiseman added: “We are having more in-depth conversations with those who took part in the survey to realise some of the demand that’s there.

“We are pleased with the level of response, however, we are always keen to find out more.

“We welcome any further feedback from companies interested in expanding or locating to Shetland and from those who didn’t take part in the survey.”

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