St Andrews Green Belt
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MP's welcome for St Andrews Green Belt plan
The Courier, 30 September 2000
North East Fife MP Menzies Campbell has welcomed news that
Fife Council is now proposing green belt status for areas of St Andrews.
Mr Campbell said yesterday that, after years of
campaigning, it was delightful to "at long last see an outbreak of common sense
in the planning service of Fife Council."
He said, "The campaign for a green belt to protect the
landscape setting of St Andrews is overwhelming.
"The surprise, and to some extent the frustration, is that
it has taken so long for that to be recognised. Green belts do not prevent
development but they require proposals to be measured against significant
criteria which give additional protection.
"It is just a pity that St Andrews had not enjoyed that
protection in recent times when major proposals have been before the council,
so as to ensure that development was subject to rigorous assessment."
Fife Councils decision to include a possible St
Andrews green belt in Fifes structure plan was also welcomed yesterday by
the chairman of the St Andrews Green Belt Forum, Professor Terence Lee. He said
the U-turn was "absolutely amazing news" which, he hoped, would help protect
the unique character and landscape setting of the town.
But with the proposals still to be discussed by councillors
and the plan ultimately to be approved by the Scottish Executive, he did not
want to say too much at this stage until he had read all the fine print.
He commented, "It really does chalk one up for public
consultation and almost makes the Kingask
planning row seem worthwhile. I am sure it will also have implications for the
Just last week the St Andrews Green Belt Forum had promised
to press First Minister Donald Dewar for a public inquiry if the version of the
Fife Structure Plan put before councillors in November did not include a green
Campaigners said the consultation exercise for the draft
structure plan had shown there to be "huge support" for a green belt in the
town and the group said this wave of public opinion was too great for a
democratically elected council to ignore.
Fife Council sparked controversy earlier in the year when
it published the draft Fife Structure Plan and claimed there was no
justification for a green belt anywhere in Fife.
But on Thursday the local authority answered its critics
when it said it would now be proposing green belt status for areas of St
Andrews and Dunfermline in response to concerns voiced by residents and
The over-all strategy of the structure plan in "Shaping a
More Sustainable Fife" has not changed, but the council revealed that over 500
responses had been received to the draft plan earlier this year and these
comments had now been taken into account by the planners and the councils
While the council fervently stresses its commitment to
listening to public opinion on a regular basis, it is understood that the
Scottish Executive also exerted pressure on the council to ensure that it took
note of what had become very vocal and determined public opinion.
The proposed green belts are for areas to the north (The
Links) and the south (The Grange) of St Andrews as well as to the south and
south-west of Dunfermline.
A report on the proposals will go before Fife
Councils strategic development committee in Glenrothes next Wednesday.
The plan will then be presented for final approval to the
councils three area committees during late October/early November and to
the strategic development committee on November 27.
Thereafter the plan will be submitted to the Scottish
Executive for their approval.
The finalised plan, together with a copy of background
papers, will be available for public inspection in the main council offices and
libraries from October 19. more Community News back to
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