Scott voices frustration at lack of progress for Jarlshof visitor facilities

Shetland MSP Tavish Scott has today pressed the Government for answers on long sought after visitor improvements to the Jarlshof site and called for the process to be sped up.

During General Questions, Tavish asked the Government to explain what progress it has made towards developing coach park facilities at the site. For years parking and toilet facilities at the nearby Sumburgh Hotel have had to be used by those accessing the site. This has only been possible through an agreement with the hotel owners and the situation is increasingly untenable as visitor numbers increase.

Minister Ben Macpherson replied that all parties recognise the importance of the issue, and that talks are ongoing but legal issues mean details cannot be provided. However, a business case for the project had been rejected by the Cabinet Secretary last December.

Tavish has now written to Cabinet Secretary Fiona Hyslop seeking answers on what immediate steps are being taken to reach a solution. In the letter, Mr Scott highlights the increasing visitor numbers that are to be expected with Shetland’s increasing reputation as a visitor destination and notes that, from the evidence seen so far, he is not confident that the Government are committed to resolving the matter.

Tavish commented:

“The Government’s delay in finding a solution is not good enough. The tourism industry and local businesses have raised problems regarding lack of visitor facilities for years.

“Another tourist season cannot be allowed to pass without any progress. This would not have dragged as it has were we talking about a location in the central belt. Jarlshof is a world class site and it is embarrassing that the Government isn’t doing more to develop the most basic of amenities.”

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