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St Andrews Bay Development (Kingask)
Issues raised during turbulent planning phase
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Rural group questions golf complex firm's jobs claims

The Courier, 24 December 1998

Plans for a major golf and hotel development at Kingask, near St Andrews, were criticised again yesterday-this time by the Association for the Protection of Rural Scotland.

The Edinburgh-based organisation said it had welcomed the 30% reduction in size and scale of the development as revealed by the St Andrews Bay Development Company last week.

The body - whose objection is among the 130-plus submitted in response to the original plans - said, however, that it still remained opposed in principle.

APRS director Joan Geddes said, "We retain the general view that the effect on the landscape character will be adverse and the development intrusive in a sensitive scenic area.

"We were alarmed to read in the landscape and visual appraisal addendum report that the proposed clubhouse, while not part of this application, will be "set on its own on the promontory'' and will create a "distinctive landmark building.''

"The whole essence of our objection, and as we understand it that of many other organisations, is the detrimental visual impact of the proposal and this element further adds to our serious concern.''

Although primarily concerned with the environmental impact, Mrs Geddes said the association had questioned the validity of the jobs figures quoted.

"Although we have not actually seen the economic impact study, we have seen figures of 400-500 jobs at the construction phase and 300 permanent jobs in the hotel and other facilities quoted. How many of the construction jobs can be guaranteed for local, unemployed people? Will local contractors and sub-contractors be given priority in terms of building contracts?'' she asked.

"As to the estimated 300 permanent jobs resulting from the development, many of these are likely to be low-paid, seasonal and attractive to overseas students rather than local unemployed target groups,'' she said.

To highlight the body’s concerns, Mrs Geddes has written a further letter of objection to Fife Council’s east area planning managing Jim Birrell.

These on-going worries come just days after the Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland revealed that it remains firmly opposed to the plans despite the modifications.

The amended proposals show alterations, including removal of one storey from the hotel, resulting in a reduction in bedrooms from 240 to 208, and fewer manor houses-five instead of ten.

Yesterday The Courier reported that Scot Sam Torrance is joining a team of golf stars to design two 18-hole courses at the Kingask Estate.

Working alongside American legend Gene Sarazen, Australian Bruce Devlin with the possibility that Jack Nicklaus might get involved at a future date, he has expressed excitement at the nature of the spectacular clifftop setting.

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