Transition Shetland

Tingwall Glasshouse - Press release

It is with great sadness that Transition Shetland has decided to abandon its plans to take over the Tingwall glasshouse and convert it into a centre for community growing, education and therapy.

The environment action group has invested more than two years in a last ditch attempt to rescue the 2,500 square metre building. The group raised £20,000 from the Big Lottery Fund and LEADER - as well as investing member’s personal funds - for a feasibility study that demonstrated there was a viable long term future for the building in community ownership. The study showed widespread support, with many people expressing an interest in renting plots. A public meeting in March attracted 35 people to discuss the plan.

However this support has not resulted in sufficient new interest to overcome the hurdles facing the project. The main barrier is the difference in the valuation of the property and the price being asked for by its owner, which could only be overcome by a strong group of like-minded enthusiasts. Without that level of support coming forward, Transition Shetland has decided to abandon the project and concentrate on other things.

Chairman Pete Bevington said:

"We have taken this decision with considerable sadness and dismay after so much work has been put into this project. While we were able to demonstrate a huge amount of public support for what we were trying to do, we have not seen the active interest that we need to give us confidence to take this any further.

The owner of the building is seeking more than twice as much as Shetland’s only commercial valuer has said the building is worth, a gap we feel is too great to bridge with the resources at our disposal. The need for such a community facility has never been greater, as more and more people look for the opportunity to grow under the protection of plastic or glass.

In the years ahead the combination of climate change and oil price rises will see the cost of food going up, especially in Shetland where it currently has to be imported by fuel-guzzling ships. In community ownership the Tingwall glasshouse could have played a central role in helping people to grow more of their own food.

We will now concentrate our efforts on other ways to help Shetland become a more resilient community in the face of the challenges ahead.

Transition Shetland will make the information it has generated from the feasibility study available on its website Feasibility Study &  Business Plan

The group would like to thank everyone who has helped in the project, including the Big Lottery Fund, the local LEADER action group, Shetland Islands Credit Union, AB Associates, Richard Gibson Architects and everyone who has leant their support and encouragement along the way.