Survey highlights demand for more business premises in Shetland

Katrina Wiseman, area manager at HIE in Shetland

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

The findings follow a survey 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 to the survey that was aimed at assessing levels of demand for both commercial land and property. 

More than a tenth of responses came from inward investors in the food and drink, manufacturing and aquaculture sectors, demonstrating the potential for industry and population growth. A range of sectors including space, community development, engineering and software development completed the survey.

The research found that 75% of businesses would prefer to purchase instead of renting a property. Those who took part in the survey felt that there is little suitable commercial property currently available in Shetland for those that responded. 

In the North Isles, following demand from local companies, 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 underway to create ten serviced sites for expanding businesses, most of which operate in the marine sector.

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, including Central Mainland, North Mainland and in the North Isles where there is growing interest in development.

Katrina Wiseman, area manager at HIE’s Shetland area team, 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 both 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. 

“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 so 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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