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St Andrews Bay Development (Kingask)
Issues raised during turbulent planning phase
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New move against golf plans

The Courier, 9 June 1999

The crisis facing St Andrews from three planned golf-related developments on the outskirts of the town has led to an appeal to the Scottish Secretary to use his powers to call in the multi-million-pound proposals. At a crucial meeting of St Andrews Community Council members voted by a large majority - 11-2 with several abstentions - to have the controversial plans considered at a public inquiry. During the discussions there were claims that the proposals for Kingask, Scooniehill and Feddinch would result in devastating problems for the town.

The application for Kingask by St Andrews Bay Development Ltd involves a £50 million hotel and conference facility and two 18-hole golf courses which were previously turned down by councillors on the east area development committee. However, within days of the rejection the company submitted new amended plans.

Some 500 acres of land at Scooniehill Farm on the southern approaches to the town has been earmarked by St Andrews International Golf Club Ltd for a project comprising two golf courses, a clubhouse and leisure club, residential facilities and a golf academy, the latter of which will also incorporate a nine-hole golf course. Car parking is also planned and some 80 houses described as members accommodation.

At Feddinch - south of St Andrews - plans have been lodged for a 200-bedroom hotel and conference centre, an 18-hole golf course and golf range, along with 600 residential time-share units for holidaymakers.

The developers say that more than 1000 jobs would be created.

Fife Council is in the midst of a consultation in connection with the plans before a special departure hearings meeting into the applications scheduled for next week.

The local authority took the decision to take consideration of the proposals out of the hands of local councillors on the east area development committee after arguing that there were strategic issues affecting Fife as a whole and not just St Andrews.

Speaking at the meeting of the community council in St Andrews Burgh Chambers, vice-chairman Dr Ian Goudie said that members had “lost faith” in the exercise the local authority was carrying out.

He added, “In our view the Kingask application earlier this year did not receive from officials the objective scrutiny that was required. We view the current manoeuvres in much the same light and believe the planning process is being brought into disrepute.

“We have no choice but to look to the Secretary of State to give an objective decision."

Chairman Dr Frank Riddell claimed that the golf-related schemes would result in unbearable pressure on the town’s roads, the secondary school, health facilities, housing and police.

He added, “There are five grounds for the call-in, all of which we believe are relevant.”

They include development on prime agricultural land; development involving a significant departure from the structure or local plan; and development affecting scheduled monuments or category A-listed buildings or their settings.

The community council also maintains that the developments are contrary to much of the guidance given by the Scottish Secretary in planning advice concerning golf related developments and in national planning policy guidelines on sport.

In support of their appeal, Dr Riddell added that the Nolan Committee report clearly said the Government should be more ready to use all its powers to call in a major application handled by an authority where, over a period of time, there is substantial public concern over its decision-making processes.

During the meeting Mrs Lindsay Murray highlighted traffic studies, which have been undertaken by consultants on behalf of Fife Council as part of the overview of the applications.

She criticised the decision to hold them during what she described as “one of the quietest weeks of the year” in St Andrews.

Local business man Murdo MacDonald added, however, “We have to be very careful how we play this. Kingask would give employment to our young people, although I agree that all three applications together would be disastrous for St Andrews.”

Following the departure hearings a special meeting of the centrally-based Fife Council strategic development committee will take place on July 7 when the three applications will be determined.

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