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Revamp of Scapa Flow memorial area would be ‘a huge move forward’ say councillors

A sketch of the Royal Oak Memorial plans.
A sketch of the Royal Oak Memorial plans.

Councillors in Orkney were keen to back proposals for a new building at Scapa Flow, which would house an exhibition on HMS Royal Oak and Scapa Flow.

The plans were discussed at a meeting of the Harbour Authority sub-committee.

The vice-chairman of the committee, Andrew Drever called it “a huge move forward”.

Councillor Rob Crichton, sang the proposals’ praises, saying “I am totally, utterly and wholeheartedly behind it.”

The new ‘T-shaped’ building would replace the wooden shed that has stood there for around forty years. A council report notes that the shed is in poor condition.

As well as new serving as a store for the council, the new building would house an exhibition.

A council report says it would provide a “21st Century display area for the HMS Royal Oak Association”.

There would also be information on the wider history of Scapa Flow.

Memorial garden in need of revamp

The memorial garden is said to be in need of a “revamp”.

Timber posts bordering the road coming are coming to the end of their lives, the report states.

An annual memorial event is held at the garden to remember the 835 sailors lost in the sinking of the HMS Royal Oak, in October 1939.

During the meeting, councillors were told that the exhibition would also feature information about HMS Vanguard, which also sank in the flow, and the pioneering aviator Edwin Dunning.

Councillor Owen sought assurances over the wood cladding planned to be used on the new building.

He expressed concerns that it may not cope with the weather conditions, at what is quite an exposed spot. In reply, he was told that plans included using “the right wood”.

Exhibition will feature the history of Scapa Flow

However, the proposals still have some way to go.

Councillors approved these proposals to go to the council’s policy and resources sub-committee.

The project is estimated to cost £500,000.

An application has been made to Crown Estate Scotland to cover the full cost.

The harbours authority expects to hear whether they’ve got the funding in March.

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