St Andrews Bay Development (Kingask)
Issues raised during turbulent planning phase
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Kingask: mixed reaction to refusal
The Citizen, 12 February 1999
St Andrews Community Council
Dr Frank Riddell, vice-chairman, said afterwards: In
recent letters concerning the Kingask development, I said that the
Community Council had faith that the decision will be taken on the facts
and merits of the case and on no other basis.
Thank goodness that the councillors who represent us
have had the courage to do just that.
Commonsense has spoken rather than megabucks.
A watershed in planning for St Andrews has been
negotiated successfully. The views of the town as expressed through its
Community Council, have been upheld.
Thanks to the actions of the councillors, the policy
documents that defend St Andrews from such unwanted intrusions are still in
place. We still have the St Andrews Strategic Study, the St Andrews Landscape
Assessment, the Traffic Management Plan and the Fife Councils own
policies for town centres intact to defend our town against the developers.
Local government depends crucially upon officials who
can be relied upon and councillors who can keep them in check. It is the
supreme justification of British democratic processes that our councillors said
This decision will be unwelcome in Chateau Elan in
Georgia. Dr Panoz and his cronies have to learn the hard lesson that what can
be done there, by whatever means - and they tried most of them - is not
Im gobsmacked that we won. The hard work of Ian
Goudie, myself and the Community Council Planning Committee has paid off and we
still have the means in place to defend the environment of our beautiful
St Andrews Preservation Trust
St Andrews Preservation Trust said they were
delighted at the news of the councils decision not to give
the Kingask project the go-ahead.
The societys Chair, Ms Dorothea Morrison, said that
acceptance of the developers proposal had hinged on the viability of
their traffic scheme.
St Andrews Bay Development Ltd had failed to convince Fife
Council that their green traffic plan was a workable option for St
Andrews and the proposal had been refused.
She said the Preservation Trust had said from the start
that the increased volume of traffic generated by the Kingask
development would be too much for St Andrews and would strangle the
She expressed regret that the developers had not taken the
opportunity three weeks ago to reduce the size of the planned complex to that
of a small country hotel which St Andrews would be better able to sustain and
accommodate and which might have stood a better chance of being accepted.
Ms Morrison emphasised that the Preservation Trust was not
against development on principle.
What they wanted was development appropriate to, and
beneficial for, the town.
She concluded that, if the developers were wise, they would
give up now.
Ted Brocklebank, prospective Conservative MSP for NE
Ted Brocklebank, an outspoken opponent of the plans, said:
This was a historic decision for St Andrews.
The real implications of the East Area Planning
Boards rejection of this development go far beyond Kingask. This
sends a message to every other speculative developer that St Andrews is not up
As residents will discover in the weeks ahead, there
are a number of major proposals in the pipeline for the town. Some could be to
the benefit of St Andrews. Others might seriously damage our unique landscape
setting and should be rejected.
Prospective developers must learn that they need St
Andrews far more than St Andrews needs them. We, the people who live and work
here, are in a position to shape the way this unique and ancient town develops.
We are the custodians of a remarkable heritage in St Andrews and should make
our views crystal clear about the kind of town we want to leave for our
children and grandchildren.
There is absolutely no doubt that Kingask was
rejected on the strength of the arguments against it. The proposal simply did
not make sense on its size, scale, siting or timing.
The tragedy for the developers is that they pressed
ahead with their grandiose plans despite numerous opportunities to accommodate
the concerns and aspirations of those with the true interests of St Andrews at
heart. I am not opposed to the right kind of developments or, indeed, more golf
courses. While this proposal may have fallen, I believe Kingask could
yet be the location for a suitably-sited hotel and golf complex.
But let no developer insult the intelligence of the
people of St Andrews or seek to bulldoze us into a wrong decision on the basis
of a few hundred lowly-paid jobs. What we have to lose here is far more
important than this kind of fools gold, and developers should take
SNP in NE Fife
The SNPs prospective MSP for North East Fife, Colin
Welsh, reacted with dismay at the East Area Development Committees
Speaking after the meeting, Mr Welsh said: This is an
extremely short-sighted decision, not just for St Andrews and the East Neuk,
but for all those that are concerned for economic development and job creation
in North East Fife.
Committee members appear to have been influenced by
an articulate vocal minority whose primary aim is to maintain St Andrews in a
timewarp rather than listening to those who wish to see sustainable economic
My fear is that any future potential investors will
now be dissuaded from locating in this area because of the hostility any change
seems to create.
It is crucially important that all those who have
contributed both in the arguments for and against Kingask engage in a
debate on how best to secure the economic viability of St Andrews and the wider
The forthcoming council and Scottish elections will
provide an ideal opportunity to promote positive ideas and thoughts on this
Perhaps it was getting close to tea time, or maybe it was
too cold to linger, but considering the storm of protest the Kingask
development has provoked since its inception many months ago, the reaction of
the St Andrews townspeople to the councils decision not to give
developers the go-ahead was distinctly muted.
However, a general low-key relief was evident among local
residents I spoke to that the planned development at Kingask had been
halted - for the moment at least.
I couldnt help but note that most of those who
expressed relief at the plans being thrown out were of more mature years, and I
wondered if the ambivalence expressed by the younger citizens of St Andrews
could be put down to genuine apathy or the knowledge that a large, modern
business development which might provide jobs and opportunities and alter the
olde worlde nature of the town, had been quashed.
A couple of middle-aged men, who again did not want to be
named (why not?) expressed regret at the plans failure to be accepted,
which they both said represented a loss to the town with regards to possible
When I asked if they ever played the glorious game, one
gave me an enigmatic smile which led me to wonder if this lost employment
opportunity regret might be golf-tinged!
I tried to tap into the body of student opinion but was met
with apologetic smiles and blank frowns - clearly the pros and cons of the
Kingask project were not a hot topic of conversation in the
Among those who actually recognised the name
Kingask, and had been following the development of the development (so
to speak), the general feeling was that the town had been granted a reprieve
from an ill-considered idea much too large for it to cope with.
A distinct gender split was in evidence, with more women
expressing relief at the decision while men displaying an ambivalence, glad
that this particular project had been rejected but regretful that a business
venture had been lost which could have brought new blood into the town.
However, while the mood in St Andrews is of quiet triumph,
the Kingask Project is far from dead.
The developers, St Andrews Bay Development Ltd., are
currently considering all their options. more
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