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St Andrews Bay Development (Kingask)
Issues raised during turbulent planning phase
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Trust 'deeply concerned' over renewed golf plans

The Courier, 2 April 1999

Developers behind the £50 million Kingask hotel, conference, golf and leisure complex have made “no effort” to address the very real fears of local residents and national bodies.

This has been claimed by St Andrews Preservation Trust in their objection to renewed plans from St Andrews Bay Development Ltd for the extensive project just outside the town.

Members of Fife Council’s east area development committee have already turned down one set of plans for a 208 bedroom hotel and other facilities.

However, the applicants have appealed to the Secretary of State, and have at the same time submitted a more detailed application covering every phase.

This includes redevelopment of the steading which was the subject of original outline planning consent, provision of a golf clubhouse, and parking for over 300 vehicles.

The application has been subject to a period of consultation which ends this weekend, and the preservation trust’s planning convener, Elizabeth Williams, has just submitted a fully detailed response.

She has concluded that in resubmitting their application virtually unaltered, the applicants had overlooked the opportunity given to them to improve the location of the hotel and clubhouse.

She added that they had shown “scant regard” for the arguments and reasons from the public, experts, and local councillors.

“On the economic front, St Andrews has a thriving tourist industry which, to judge by occupancy and employment figures, may already be at saturation point.

“Large-scale investment, however attractive at first sight, should not be accepted when it is obviously inappropriate in the proposed setting and location.

“St Andrews Preservation Trust remains deeply concerned that all arguments of a social and economic nature have been skewed to suggest possible benefits to the local community and economy.

“We submit that the picture might not be as simple as the applicants suggest.”

Mrs Williams went on to “respectfully remind” members of Fife Council that they had a duty to consider the long term and heritage aspects of all cases.

“This must be particularly relevant in the case of St Andrews, a hitherto unspoiled historic town whose landscape setting is crucial to its character.”

The application, she said, merited refusal even more than its predecessor, since it was even larger, and had addressed none of the grounds for refusal put forward.

The objection covers a wide range of topics, such as violation of local plan policies, tourism impact, location of the buildings on site, traffic impact and economic impact.

On the issue of traffic, which was a crucial factor in the refusal of the application a few weeks ago, Mrs Williams said that the issues had still not been realistically addressed.

She said there was no acceptable way of by-passing St Andrews, and that the element of compulsion in the ‘green travel plan’ would clearly be unrealistic in practice.

In addition, she said, the provision of over 300 parking spaces was a clear indication of the number, of vehicles expected at the site.

On economic impact, she said there was a question mark over the provision of satisfactory full-time employment.

Jobs available to local people, she said, would be unskilled, with managerial and specialist staff brought in, and it was clear from the local job centre that existing hotels and guest houses already had difficulty in finding this kind of staff.

There would also be a knock-on effect for hotels and guest houses in the town, she said, and tourism had to be managed in a sustainable way.

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