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St Andrews Bay Development (Kingask)
Issues raised during turbulent planning phase
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Kingask developers to lodge an appeal

The Courier, 27 February 1999

Debate over the £50 million hotel, conference, golf and leisure development proposed for a site at Kingask, near St Andrews, entered a new phase yesterday as the applicants announced their intention to lodge an appeal with the Secretary of State for Scotland.

The operations director of St Andrews Bay Development, lain MacKinnon, said that “a variety of options” were still open following Fife Council’s rejection of the scheme, but the company wanted to protect its position and exercise the option to go to appeal.

It could be several months before a public inquiry into the proposals is held, and yesterday objectors signalled their intention to fight the development all the way.

Whether the developers make moves in any other direction in the meantime remains to be seen, but it has already been indicated by Fife’s head of planning David Rae that yet another planning application or the site may be submitted.

Since the proposals were announced last year there has been a bitter division of opinion among objectors and supporters, and the application was refused by Fife Council’s East Area development. committee earlier this month after lengthy discussion and a narrow 7-5 vote among councillors.

Even the aftermath of the committee vote has been marked by controversy, with sniping among councillors, calls for the resignation of the area development committee chairman from the area tourist board, and heavy criticism of Labour administration councillor Helen Eadie over remarks she made in a letter to the chairman, Councillor Peter Douglas.

Yesterday Mr MacKinnon said that the company was, of course, dismayed by the recent setback.

He said that the plans had been “radically modified’ to the satisfaction of Fife Council officials after account was taken of earlier concerns expressed by the area development committee and members of the community.

“This decision was particularly unsatisfactory, as the principle of development, in line with what is proposed on this magnificent site, Is already established.

“To protect our position we must exercise the option to go to appeal.”

Mr MacKinnon said that the development of the 208-bedroom hotel, two quality golf courses, and associated conference and leisure facilities had been scheduled to be operational by the summer of next year.

He said that the construction phase would create 500 jobs, while permanent employment for 300 people was anticipated in the completed development.

“While the appeal process may jeapordise our construction programme, our intention remains to progress with this excellent development, which is so significant to Fife, and to Scotland, in terms of job creation and tremendous economic benefit.

“We have been consistent in our wish to invest heavily in Fife, and are hopeful that the Kingdom itself will be able to demonstrate there is welcome here for inward investment of such quality.”

Mr MacKinnon added that he wished to re-emphasise the fact that St Andrews Bay Development Ltd was not an American company, but a Scottish registered one, and that its bankers, accountants and solicitors were in north-east Fife.

Yesterday the vice chairman of St Andrews Community Council, Dr Frank Riddell, said that the appeal would be vigorously contested.

The community council, he said, would be represented at any hearing which took place, and would pursue the issue with the same determination it had shown so far.

The chairman of St Andrews Preservation Trust, Dorothea Morrison, said yesterday that body was “delighted" to have the opportunity to have questions answered at appeal.

“We expect to win, and we intend to win, and perhaps now we can find out why officials of Fife Council presented reports in the way they did.”

Mrs Morrison said that the Trust would be represented at the appeal, and was currently deciding whether to go down the route of engaging a QC or a top planning consultant.

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