Knab redevelopment


What’s the Islands Deal and what’s it got to do with the Knab Redevelopment?

The Islands Growth Deal has been developed by Shetland Islands Council, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and Orkney Islands Council, together with public, academic, business, community and third sector partners. It aims to harness the islands’ unique assets to create world class, innovative and globally focused industries that will help address the islands’ severe demographic challenges and strengthen the distinct and important contribution the islands make to the economic vitality and international reputation of Scotland and the United Kingdom.

The Islands Growth Deal will invest in sixteen projects and programmes built around three strategic themes of low carbon; supporting growth and future industries; and thriving sustainable communities, subject to approval of Full Business Cases. The Knab redevelopment is one of these projects.

Where’s the money coming from for the Knab Redevelopment?
The Knab redevelopment is being funded with £9.6 million from the Scottish Government as part of the Islands Growth Deal, up to £12.2 million from the Affordable Homes Supply Programme and the balance of £49.7 million from project partners a significant portion of which is housing debt funded through tenants rents over an extended period.
How do I have my say about what is planned at the Knab?

A series of public consultations have already taken place which resulted in a Masterplan for the site which has been adopted by Shetland Islands Council. There was also public consultation during the recent Knab infrastructure planning application.

There will be further opportunities to view housing proposals in future planning applications. Members of the Knab Project Team at the Council are always happy to speak to the public about the site plans to answer any questions or concerns. You can contact us at

When will demolition be finished?
Demolition work is scheduled to be completed by early spring 2024.
When will building start?
Subject to funding and statutory consents, construction work on the Knab infrastructure and public spaces is expected to begin in the second half of 2024. These are the enabling contracts (earthworks, roads, services, etc.) that allow the early phase of house construction to start together with works to the common areas (landscaping, feature paths and walls, etc.).
Why is it taking so long for things to be done at the Knab?
This is a complex, long-term programme of work involving a number of stakeholders and partners. While we appreciate it might not always be obvious from the site, the work is in fact progressing at the speed and to the timescale we anticipated.
What is happening with the old buildings at the Knab?
Four existing buildings will be retained as part of the redevelopment – the Anderson Educational Institute building, the Janet Courtney Hostel, the Bruce Hostel and the old science block. There are a number of proposals for their future use, including a creative hub, housing accommodation and a hotel. The old science block was subject to a community asset transfer with the New Life Church which plans to use the building as a place of worship and cafe.
Can I look around the old buildings at the Knab?
The public are not allowed onto the site as there are construction related activities ongoing which pose a health and safety risk.
When will housing be built at the Knab?
The housing part of the development will commence once the infrastructure and public space contracts have been completed. It is anticipated that the housing contracts will start in 2025/26 and continue in phases over several years to suit demand.
What type of housing will be at the Knab?
It is proposed that the Housing options on the Knab may range from Council social rent through to alternative tenures such as mid-market rent, shared equity and even the consideration of the sale of private sites.
How many houses are proposed to be constructed?
Dependent on the type of housing options considered, it is proposed that approximately 140 houses will be built on the site. This supply will significantly help to reduce demand for social housing in Shetland together with creating opportunities through different tenures for home ownership or private developments.
Are the houses going to be super insulated and energy efficient?
Yes. Through Islands Deal funding, the properties will achieve ‘passivhaus’ standards which results in modern, highly energy efficient homes.
What other facilities will be available at the Knab?
The vision for the redevelopment is one with community at its heart where residents will be encouraged to take full advantage of the community and environment they inhabit meaning any future facilities will be developed in consultation with those who will be living and using the site. This website is one of the ways we hope to engage with those who will be living on the site.
What is happening with parking at the Knab?

We understand that parking is a major concern for local residents so we are working closely with the Roads Authority to make sure that enough parking is provided within the site to support the development and avoid increased demands on existing on-street parking.

Parking proposals for the site are being developed in line with the guidance set out in the Knab Masterplan and was a key consideration in the recent planning application for the Knab infrastructure project.

There will be accessible walking and cycling routes from all areas within the site towards the town centre and existing transport links. It is also intended that a new bus stop will be built on Knab Road that will allow bus routes to connect the site with public transport.