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St Andrews Bay Development (Kingask)
Issues raised during turbulent planning phase
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Objections raised as hotel group renews campaign

The Courier, 17 March 1999

The Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland has renewed Its strong objections to the hotel, golf and leisure complex planned or a rural site at Kingask, near St Andrews.

Tayside and Fife secretary Glen Pride said yesterday there had been no change to the society’s major bone of contention, which is the size of the project and its impact on and around the site.

Mr Pride said that while he could “only admire the persistence” of the applicants, St Andrews Bay Development, it appeared that they were now bordering on desperation.

The Kingask application was recently refused by Fife Council, and in addition to appealing that decision to the Scottish Secretary, the applicants have now submitted a more detailed application.

The scale of the development remains the same as before. However, the application now covers all phases of the scheme, which include the 208 bedroom hotel and conference centre, conversion of former steadings which were the subject of the original outline consent, and creation of a golf club on a further part of the site. Also included is parking for over 300 vehicles.

The new plan is out to consultation, an the whole planning process will have to be gone through again by the council’s East Area development committee.

In the latest correspondence, the society said the new application failed to address the reasons for refusal put forward by the committee.

He emphasised that at no time had the society stated that development must not take place, but among the concerns was the scale, location and impact of the proposals, and whether they complied with the many constraints on the site.

Mr Pride said it was “illuminating” to carry out a clause by clause comparison between the conclusions of the report from Scottish Natural Heritage and those reached by the area planning manager in his last report.

Turning to details of the application, Mr Pride said the spa originally planned for the back of the hotel and conference block had looked relatively small, but the result of its move to the steadings was a massive complex even bigger in area than the hotel.

On the proposed clubhouse, Mr Pride said it was noted that it was 41 feet high, and that its top storey incorporated four luxury flats with balconies. These flats, he said, contributed to the enormity of the building, the extent of which was unjustified.

He added that it was difficult to believe the proposed travel management scheme, which includes a special fleet of vehicles, could impose upon the preferred routes of visitors through Fife.

“There is also the question of casual visits to St Andrews town, which itself is worth seeing and is not merely a name required to embellish a leisure development.

“Surely all visitors will not be prepared to be regimented into dedicated corporate transport,” said Mr Pride.

On the question of tourism and employment, he said the Kingdom of Fife Tourist board, which has publicly backed the principle of such a scheme, had also questioned the commercial viability of a development of this size.

It had also, he said, expressed fears regarding the likely displacement of business from existing hotels.

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