St Andrews Bay Development (Kingask)
Issues raised during turbulent planning phase
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New moves to 'call in' key golf projects
The Courier, 7 June 1999
The Community Council in St Andrews is to be asked to follow
the example of the local preservation trust and ask the Scottish Office to
call in three major golf and leisure developments.
This was made clear at the weekend by the councils
chairman, Dr Frank Riddell, an outspoken critic of the way the Home of
Golf is being targeted by developers and of the way Fife Councils
administration has dealt with the situation.
The potential investment involved in applications for sites
at Kingask, Feddinch and Scooniehill is estimated at well over
£200 million and recently the council decided to prepare a 'strategic
overview' to set up ground rules and a framework for consideration.
At the same time the Labour administration controversially
voted to take final decisions out of the hands of locally-elected East Area
The move led to speculation by Dr Riddell and others that
it was a ploy to have the Kingask application approved as
quickly as possible.
At the weekend Dr Riddell said there would be a
recommendation to this weeks community council that the Scottish Office
should be asked to determine the applications.
He said that there had already been comprehensive studies
of the St Andrews area, including the recently agreed transportation plan and
the St Andrews Strategic Study, and that such documents would form the core of
the community councils case.
If the matter was not taken into the Scottish Office, with
all of the issues explored in a full conjoint public inquiry, the final
decision would be left in the hands of counclllors who were not locally based,
The fear has been expressed that St Andrews, which is
already at bursting point in the summer months, could not cope with the extra
traffic generated and that buildings in the town centre would be under
Concern has also been raised over the impact from the three
prominent sites on the unspoiled landscape setting around the town.
In addition, the administrators of St Andrews Links have
made it clear that play over the Old Course and others beside the town is
already at saturation point and that the carrot of potential
starting times should not be dangled before possible hotel guests or conference
There have also been clear differences in attitude between
council officials who have backed the Kingask scheme and a range of
national conservation bodies who have taken a completely different view and
have put up a wall of opposition.
One issue in the Kingask case - the only application
which has so far been fully explored in the council planning process - is that
of coastal planning and associated guidelines.
There was, in fact, a curt exchange between St Andrews
councillor Frances Melville and east area planning manager Jim Birrell during
public debate of the Kingask plans, when Mrs Melville asked questions
about coastal planning issues which had not been referred to in council
Dr Riddell said yesterday that the only fair way forward
was for the matter to be dealt with by the Scottish Office. more Planning Phase
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