St Andrews Bay Development (Kingask)
Issues raised during turbulent planning phase
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Councillor attacks speed of planning applications
Gordon Berry, The Courier, 2 June 1999
A Leading North-East Fife councillor has accused Fife
Council of acting with indecent haste in deciding on the three
major planning applications for golf and leisure developments currently looming
over St Andrews.
The comments were made by east area development committee
chairman Peter Douglas, then immediately backed by two other St Andrews
councillors, expressing the fear that crucial special hearings were being
arranged when detailed information required is unlikely to be available.
Fife Councils administration was criticised just
before the elections, when it was decided the final decision on the
multi-million-pound Kingask, Feddinch and Scooniehill applications be
taken out of locally elected hands.
The £50 million Kingask application is
furthest along the line, having already been narrowly rejected by east area
members due to concerns about size, scale and traffic impact.
The developers have appealed this decision with the
Scottish Office, in the meantime submitting a new, more detailed application,
similar in terms of size and scale.
All three applications require extensive accommodation, two
of them with 200 bedroom hotels and conference facilities, the other with
lodge-style club accommodation.
Fife Council eventually decided on a strategic overview of
the situation, engaging landscape and traffic management consultants to look at
Widely differing claims have been put forward about the
possible affect of extra traffic on the congested town centre.
The council has made clear that the applications all
represent departures from the approved development plans. Therefore special
hearings will be held to examine all the relevant issues.
Applications would then go before the east area committee,
so those councillors can form a view on the plans, while unable to make formal
The final determination is made at a special meeting of the
strategic development committee, which would be similar to one that recently
decided major quarrying applications in Fife.
Yesterday Councillor Douglas, whose East Neuk ward runs to
the edge of St Andrews and includes all three sites, said he had been told that
the departure hearings were to be held this month but that it was extremely
unlikely that all of the relevant information could be gathered before
What this appears to be is just a facade of
consultation, which is is just not honest. The departure hearings have to be
fully informed or it will be impossible for a balanced view to be reached.
Having made the decision to reach a strategic
overview, and argued that the applications should all be dealt with together,
this is not the way the council should be acting.
In order that people should understand my concern, I
have to ask if all relevant information on Feddinch will be available in the
same detail as it is for the other two applications, and whether the results of
the traffic study will be finalised.
Newly elected St Andrews councillor Jane Hunter-Blair was
equally critical of the speed of proceedings.
These are very major developments and people should
be prepared to wait. We must have all of the necessary information about all of
the applications before we move to the departure hearing stage, and we do not
want the results of the independent studies to be produced in haste.
Another St Andrews member, Frances Melville, said that she
was still waiting for answers to whether all three applications are processed
at the pace of the slowest one.
Councillor Melville said that she was very unhappy to have
decisions made with such speed.
Last night the leader of the council administration,
Christine May, said that there was a lot of huffing and puffing
surrounding the issue.
She said that as far she understood the time frame allowed
was realistic given the need to make determinations on the applications and
have a reasoned debate. more Planning Phase News more general
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