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St Andrews Bay Development (Kingask)
Issues raised during turbulent planning phase
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Kingask plans draw new attack

Gordon Berry, The Courier, 12 April 1999

A national conservation body has lodged further strong objections to the scale and nature of plans for a £50 million development at Kingask, near St Andrews, reinforcing its earlier claim that there could be creation of a new settlement in the countryside.

It has also been stated by Scottish Natural Heritage that the proposals, which envisage a 208-bedroom hotel and large conference centre, along with two uncontroversial golf courses, are so fundamentally different from the original outline consent that they should not even be considered as having permission in principle.

The new application covers all phases of the development, and differs from the plans already rejected by Fife Council in that there is now inclusion of redevelopment of the steading which was the subject of the original outline consent.

Also included is creation of a golf clubhouse, and parking throughout the entire site for more than 300 vehicles.

There has already been controversy over the objection from Scottish Natural Heritage, since it appeared to have been overlooked by council officials with the result that its full extent was not made known to councillors until the day of the previous decision-making process at the east area development committee.

Further objections have already been made by St Andrews Community Council, St Andrews Preservation Trust and the Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland, all referring to size and scale.

In its latest letter Scottish Natural Heritage has said that the application seeks to introduce a large new development away from the original farm steading and cluster of buildings, and into open countryside.

Having assessed the current plans, said the letter, SNH was of the view that there would be loss of character of a landscape which the body has previously described as being one of the least altered in Fife.

There would also be, it said, adverse impact on the landscape setting of St Andrews, and erosion of the quality associated with an area of great landscape value and proximity of such development to the coast.

The body also commented on the fact that a key element would be the creation of a new woodland setting for the hotel.

It was considered that this would create a “designed and predominantly formal” situation in an otherwise simple, open agricultural area, and was not appropriate.

There is also a clear difference in the approach taken to coastal planning by SNH and officials of Fife Council, who have previously recommended approval.

SNH highlighted national planning guidance which states that many developments which assist the long-term viability of coastal communities are likely to be on a modest scale, and that ill-considered development can have a detrimental effect on ecology and scenery.

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