St Andrews Bay Development (Kingask)
Issues raised during turbulent planning phase
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St Andrews planning row grows
The Courier, 16 June 1999
On the eve of crucial talks focusing on three multi-million
pound golf-related developments around St Andrews, the consortiums behind the
controversial projects have come under attack.
They have been accused of exploiting the towns
world-famous name and reputation to turn St Andrews into a golf-related theme
park without considering the devastating effect they would have on the
mediaeval community and its infrastructure.
Furthermore, Fife Council officials have come under renewed
fire over their handling of the projects and procedural moves.
Opposition to the developments - estimated to be valued at
almost £400 million and providing some 1000 new jobs - was outlined at a
special meeting in the town yesterday.
It was attended by representatives of several of the
principal organisations opposed to the plans who claimed that the main
attraction to Fife Council in the developments was headline grabbing and job
The local authority is due to hold special departure
hearings to discuss the developments around St Andrews, but yesterday objectors
labelled the talks a charade.
Opponents maintain that the projects would result in
traffic chaos in the town; irreparable harm to the towns setting;
increased pressure for housing and further pressure on St Andrews already
overcrowded secondary school, hospital, health centre and its golf links.
Speaking at the meeting, Dr Frank Riddell, chairman of St
Andrews Community Council, said, In our view these developments are
monstrous and will turn St Andrews into a golf-related theme park.
He pointed out that the St Andrews travel-to-work area does
not have an unemployment problem and that in reality the new jobs would be
created for people in Dundee - the nearest area with substantial unemployment -
resulting in increased traffic pressures on the overcrowded town centre.
He explained that the community council and the
conservation pressure group, St Andrews Preservation Trust, had both appealed
to the new Scottish Secretary, Dr John Reid, to use his powers to call in the
three proposals and to have them considered at a public inquiry.
Dr Riddell also made it clear that if their request fails,
then consideration would be given to call for a judicial review or the issue
could be taken to the Court of Session.
Dr Ian Goudie, community council vice-chairman and convener
of its planning committee, added, Our decision to appeal to the Secretary
of State reflects the loss of faith in the town in Fife Councils
Dr Goudie was also critical of the local authoritys
transportation and planning officials with regard to the Kingask
He pointed out that the St Andrews Transportation Study
clearly stated that there was a need to reduce the number of vehicles entering
the town - a proposal supported by the transportation service over the last 10
But, far from deploring the developers
proposals as contrary to the entire philosophy, they endorsed the plan, while
planners equally could find no obstacles to Kingask in the Local Plan,
the Structure Plan or the Strategic Study, he said.
Mrs Dorothea Morrison, chairman of St Andrews Preservation
Trust, said that if the Scottish Secretary was doing his job, he
would see quite clearly the three applications should be thrown
Referring to St Andrews as the jewel in the
crown of the Kingdoms tourism industry - it was worth £52
million to the towns economy last year - Mrs Morrison added, It
looks like Fife Council is preparing to sell off these jewels very cheaply.
We are not discouraging tourism, but inappropriate
tourism. St Andrews has reached saturation point.
The Tayside and Fife spokesman for the Architectural
Heritage Society of Scotland, Glen Pride, accused Fife Council of moving
the goalposts in respect of the applications.
The objectors also point out that with regard to the
Kingask scheme, raw sewage from the development would be transported
through the town for up to two years until a new sewage scheme was completed by
East of Scotland Water.
The local objectors have also been backed by local MP
Menzies Campbell and MSP lain Smith, The Association for the Preservation of
Rural Scotland, The Scottish Civic Trust, The Garden History Society, the St
Andrews Green Belt Forum and The Saltire Society.
The applications for Kingask, Scooniehill and
Feddinch involve the development of two 200-bedroom hotels, conference
facilities for around 800 people, clubhouses and leisure facilities, a total of
five 18-hole golf courses and a nine-hole course, practice facilities and a
golf academy, and almost 700 residential timeshare holiday units.
Fife Council 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.
In support of the appeal to the Scottish Secretary to call
in the applications, objectors list five grounds, including development on
prime agricultural land; development involving a significant departure from the
structure or local plans; and development affecting scheduled monuments or
category A listed buildings or their settings.
They also maintain that the developments are contrary to
much of the guidance given by the Scottish Secretary in planning advice
concerning golf-related developments and that under the Nolan Committee report
it clearly states that 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
The three applications will be considered by the East Area
development committee on June 29 in Cupar before finally being decided at a
special meeting of the centraIly-based Fife Council strategic development
committee on July 7.
Following yesterdays talks, Fife Councils head
of planning strongly denied that the applications had already been decided or
that there was a need for them to be called in by the Scottish Secretary.
David Rae said, Far from having been decided, all
three of these applications are still under consideration by planners with
reports and recommendations still to be prepared for the committees which will
Tomorrows departure hearing meeting will, in
turn, give members of the Strategic Development Committee, who will eventually
decide the applications, an opportunity to hear opinions of interested parties
before reaching a decision."
The planning chief also expressed surprise at
the move by local organisations in St Andrews to have the applications called
He added, These objectors claimed that the initial
Kingask application could only properly be decided locally by the East
Area Development Committee. It is therefore rather surprising that they now
feel they are of such national importance, the decision should be made by the
Secretary of State.
Development hearing defended by chairman
The Courier, 16 June 1999
The chairman of Fife Councils strategic development
committee has defended the holding of one departure hearing in St Andrews
tomorrow afternoon which will allow objectors to comment on the proposed
multi-million pound golf developments for the town.
Councillor Bill Brand said that while the proposals for
Kingask, Scooniehill and Feddinch are separate, the council believes
they have common local and strategic implications.
As a result, he said, the majority of committee members
agreed that one hearing was the best way to minimise inconvenience
and ensure that the issues are dealt with in a comprehensive but concise
The comments were made just 24 hours after the four St
Andrews councillors launched a scathing attack on the local authority over the
timetable for the hearing.
Apart from their concerns that one hearing would not give
adequate time for all three developments, they also continue to be angry that
the meeting is being staged at a time when many community leaders might be tied
up with other business.
Tomorrows departure hearing starts at 2 pm in the
town hall and is being held for parties who have expressed a wish to address
the council about the proposed developments.
The departure hearing will enable members of Fife
Councils strategic development committee to listen to views on the three
planning applications - including golf courses, hotels and housing - at
Kingask, Scooniehill and Feddinch. It will follow visits to all three
sites by the members in the morning.
The applications will then be considered by the
councils east area development committee on June 29 before finally being
decided by the strategic development committee on July 7.
Mr Brand said yesterday that such hearings are an essential
part of the councils planning process.
These three major developments will have far reaching
implications, not just for the people of St Andrews and the east area but for
the whole of Fife, he said.
Members of the strategic development committee will
therefore have a very difficult job to do, weighing up the possible economic,
employment and tourism benefits of these projects against possible detrimental
effects on the local community and environment.
They could not make these decisions in a
well-informed and objective way without first hearing the relevant opinions
from people and organisations with an interest in these developments.
This hearing is therefore not a planning inquiry but
an important information-gathering exercise for the committee
Mr Brand said such hearings have proved effective in
helping councillors reach decisions on other major planning applications.
He said they are also part of the council's commitment to
make sure communities are fully involved in the decisions which will affect
Scottish Secretary is urged to get involved
The Courier, 16 June 1999
North-East Fife Liberal Democrat MP Menzies Campbell and his
Scottish Parliament contemporary lain Smith have given their backing to St
Andrews Community Council, residents and local councillors who want Scottish
Secretary John Reid to call in the planning applications for golf developments
around the town.
Mr Campbell said, I have no doubt whatsoever that it
is in the public interest for the Secretary of State to call in the three
applications for golf-related development around St Andrews. The proposals,
both independently and cumulatively, would have significant consequences for St
Andrews far into the next century.
Mr Smith, in a letter to Mr Reid, said, I can confirm
that this is an important local issue and that a large number of people,
including local councillors and the community council, quite rightly, want the
relevant applications to be called in. more
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