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Issues raised during turbulent planning phase
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Community council's anger at Kingask move

The Courier, 26 March 1999

Possible moves by Fife Council to “call in” the major Kingask planning application for consideration at a central committee meeting have been described as “a barefaced attempt” to see the decision of north-east Fife councillors reversed.

The comment came from St Andrews Community Council vice-chairman Dr Frank Riddell.

He has questioned the competence of the council’s strategic development committee to consider the application in the light of comments by administration councillors who wish to see the plan approved.

The latest twist in the debate comes in the wake of news that Fife Council might consider Kingask, an £18 million golf and leisure plan for Scooniehill, and a so-far-unsubmitted application for land at Feddinch at one special meeting.

Given that Feddinch plans are still at an informal stage, it could be a considerable time before officials are ready to bring any recommendation forward.

The same applies to the Scooniehill application which is already in the planning pipeline but is to be the subject of a special departure hearing which has yet to be arranged.

Kingask is further along the line, having already been rejected in one form by the east area development committee.

The fresh application submitted, however, will also have to be the subject of a further departure hearing, and the consultation process is still ongoing.

Reacting yesterday to news that Fife’s head of planning David Rae is recommending that all three projects be taken together - and decided by the administration-dominated central committee - Dr Riddell was scathing of the plan.

“Scooniehill had been lodged at the time of the previous unsuccessful attempt to have Kingask called in, and Feddinch was also known about,” he said.

“The only thing that has now changed from then is that the east area committee has rejected Kingask.

“We see this move as a barefaced attempt to have the decision of the east area development committee reversed.

“The attitudes of leading members of the central administration in Fife are known to be favourable to Kingask, and Councillor Helen Eadie and others have made unguarded comments which displayed their commitment to the project.

“Perhaps we now know why Mr Rae did not wish to meet us round the table when this was suggested a few weeks ago.”

Dr Riddell also made it clear that the community council has renewed its strong objections to the Kingask proposals, now resubmitted to the council in fuller form to show not only the hotel and conference centre complex, but a new golf clubhouse, redevelopment of the steading, and provision of over 300 parking spaces.

“Given that the previous application was rejected by Fife Council, and has now been resubmitted without any changes to the features specified in the previous grounds for rejection, we find this whole process tedious and unnecessary," said Dr Riddell.

“Normally resubmissions take into account previous grounds for rejection, and it seems that the developers have learned nothing from their previous experiences.”

The community council has also urged that the matter should be decided locally, since it had previously been decided that this was appropriate.

“Notwithstanding the marginally greater detail in the new application, we urge consistency in the delegation of this matter to the east area committee," said Dr Riddell.

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