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St Andrews Bay Development (Kingask)
Issues raised during turbulent planning phase
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Chairman attacks reports for £50 million hotel

The Courier, 8 February 1999

The chairman of St Andrews Preservation Trust has launched a strong attack on the reports and recommendations prepared by Fife Council planning officials on the controversial £50 million Kingask hotel, conference, golf and leisure scheme.

Yesterday Mrs Dorothea Morrison said that the documents would be looked at “with derision” over the next 20 years by students of town and country planning.

Her comments were reinforced by views expressed by the Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland, which said that once again there was an enthusiastic and “over the top” recommendation for approval.

At the weekend the Trust carried out an exercise in St Andrews which introduced extra vehicle movements into the town centre.

One of the main fears among objectors is that the town’s recently agreed transportation plan will be compromised by hundreds of extra vehicle movements from the hotel.

Mrs Morrison said that even on what was a “quiet winter Saturday afternoon” there had been a noticeable effect, and this gave an indication of what could happen during the summer when the tourist season was in full swing.

Mrs Morrison said that she had now written, as an individual, to East Area planning manager Jim Birrell, and had urged him to allow the development committee, which meets on Tuesday to decide the matter, to reject “the masterpiece of invention” which had been issued in place of a report on the issues.

She said in the letter that she would “never in a lifetime” have believed that Mr Birrell’s statement that the landscape setting of St Andrews had to be protected and enhanced would entail placing the largest hotel in Scotland so near to the cliff top.

Turning to what she said was the most serious consequence for the town, traffic, Mrs Morrison said that the area could not cope, and the traffic scheme proposed was a simply ridiculous notion.

She went on to say that for too long St Andrews had been seen as the goose which laid the golden eggs, but unfortunately the benefits of the eggs had failed to feed the goose.

Mrs Morrison added that those who would approve the application would strike a “fatal blow” and that a loud and clear message should be sent out to other developers.

The Tayside and Fife secretary of the Architectural Heritage society of Scotland, Glen Pride, said yesterday that if the application was approved the “genie would be out of the bottle” and he hard no doubt that conditions imposed now would be subject to later attempts to have them quashed.

“These developers have been dogmatic so far, and there is no reason to suppose that this will change.”

Mr Pride also said it appeared that the applicants were prepared to lash out money on traffic improvements in St Andrews, and seemed to be willing to do anything to get the application approved.

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