St Andrews Bay Development (Kingask)
Issues raised during turbulent planning phase
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Editorial, The Courier, 5 April 1999
St Andrews is a town facing the prospect of three
multi-million pound golf-based developments. If all are eventually approved -
and that is not a certainty by any means - the influx of seasonal visitors will
be driven remorselessly higher.
Some say this would be no bad thing. The local economy
cannot afford to ration itself where the world-wide boom in golf is concerned,
they argue, and anything that extends the season must be beneficial.
Solve the acute transport problem, perhaps with an outer
ring road, and there is much force in the economic argument - providing the
town is not overwhelmed by the sheer pace of change.
Of the three contentious plans, that at Kingask has
provoked the most bitter condemnation so far. The scaled-down version which has
been submitted still runs counter to the wishes of determined objectors.
Projects at Feddinch and Scooniehill come with substantial
residential elements as well as driving ranges, spas, conference halls, etc.
Land once considered unsuitable for leisure purposes is now eagerly sought;
farmhouses are giving way to clubhouses.
Other medieval towns struggle to find the balance between
conservation and development but few face such a concentrated onslaught as St
Andrews. So far the skyline has not been ruined. Unbridled change has been
avoided. Charm has not been driven out.
The magic combination of university, golf and seaside
resort is a sensitive mixture. Locals know that, which is why sidelining the
area planning committee in favour of a stronger role taken by the central
development committee of Fife Council causes unease. The area committee was
deemed adequate to approve the North Haugh development at the west end; why not
a hotel in the east?
If there is one sure thing it is the backlash that can
confidently be expected from residents if their voice is diminished when it
should be firmly to the fore over decisions that they will have to live
with. more Planning Phase
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