St Andrews Bay Development (Kingask)
Issues raised during turbulent planning phase
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Golf-related developments row still rumbling
Golfing plan campaign tactics come under fire
Craig Nisbet, The Citizen, 18 June 1999
As plans for golf course developments around St Andrews
moved into another formal stage of planning procedure yesterday, the local
community council and other opponents fired off their latest salvo at the
developers and Fife Council.
However, criticism is now being levelled at them for their
attack and even a community councillor has asked whether the council is now
being representative of the community it is elected to serve.
Formal Departure Hearings started yesterday to listen to
the arguments for developments at Kingask, some three miles south east
of the town, Scooniehill, immediately to the south of the town and Feddinch on
the south western outskirts.
The findings and summary of these hearings will go to Fife
Councils Strategic Development Committee and be taken on board as they
reach a decision.
On Tuesday, St Andrews Community Council - unbeknown to
many of its members - called a press conference sharing the stage with St
Andrews Preservation Trust and the Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland.
The conference provided a platform to condemn the golf developments and Fife
Council for their handling of the applications.
It also provided the opportunity to release details of the
Community Councils approach to the Secretary of State for Scotland asking
him to call in the application for determination by the Scottish Office.
Community Council Chairman Dr Frank Riddell said that the
council were not anti-golf or anti-development, but he stressed that any
development around the town should be in accord with the strategic plans.
On the prospect of employment generated by the new
developments, Dr Riddell said that if they all went ahead there could be more
than 1000 jobs created. While he agreed that Fife had an unemployment problem,
he added that figures for the St Andrews Travel to Work Area showed that it did
not. He suggested that because of transport and logistics, most of the jobs
would be filled by unemployed people from the Dundee area.
We believe that jobs should be taken to people and
not people to jobs, he added. Dr Riddell also accused Fife Council of
backing the applications to grab jobs headlines.
Failing an appeal to the Secretary of State, Dr Rlddell
said that there were other avenues of legal action open to the Community
Council, including taking the matter to the Court of Session or a judicial
Dr Ian Goudie, chairman of the Community Councils
Planning Committee - speaking about the plans by Fife Council to formulate a
strategic overview of all the proposed developments around St Andrews and then
take a decision centrally - said: We have little trust in what Fife
Council is doing. We have appealed to the Secretary of State in the hope that
the evidence will be properly weighed-up at a public inquiry.
Speaking on the procedure being adopted by Fife Council to
deal with the applications, Dr Riddell said: It appears to us that the
council are rushing these through with unfamiliar haste.
He described yesterdays departure hearings as a
charade, suggesting that Fife Council had already made up their minds on the
Dr Riddell also announced the launch of a campaign leaflet
in the town, a leaflet that many Community Councillors knew nothing of and
which has since raised concerns with them.
The leaflet contains a serious of hard-hitting statements,
some of which have already been dismissed by developers, and urges the public
not to rely on Fife Council, accusing them of showing tunnel vision
and desperate to get a headline on new jobs. It even warns that, in
some areas of the town, property prices could be adversely affected because of
increased traffic, and claims that raw sewage from Kingask will be
shipped through St Andrews for up to two years, despite the fact that a
multi-million pound sewage treatment plant is scheduled to be opened between
the town and Kingask late next year.
The leaflet has since attracted criticism from various
One local businessman said that he was horrified that
the Community Council could produce and distribute such a biased, one-sided
document when they are supposed to represent the views of the whole of the
Even a member of the community council this week said that
he was no longer sure that the actions of the Community Council were
representative of the people of the town.
Fife Council were quick to react to suggestions that
decisions had been taken on any of the plans.
The councils Head of Planning, 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 committee which will decide them.
He pointed to yesterdays departure hearings as an
opportunity to hear opinions of interested parties before reaching a
Mr Rae added: These objectors claimed that the
initial Kingask application could only be properly decided locally by
the East Area Development Committee.
It is, therefore, rather surprising that they now
feel these applications are of such national importance the decision should be
made with the Secretary of State.
Councillor Bill Brand, the chairman of Fife Councils
Strategic Development Committee, referring to yesterdays hearings, said:
These three major developments will have far reaching implications, not
just for St Andrews and the East Area, but the whole of Fife.
Members of the Strategic Development Committee,
therefore, will 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.
Current status of the three projects:
KINGASK - plans for a two golf-course development at
Kingask between the main St Andrews/Crail Road and the coastline have
been on the cards for almost 10 years.
Outline permission for the courses, along with a small
hotel, clubhouse and leisure facilities was granted in principle in 1994.
The current plans are for two golf course alongside a much
larger hotel than originally envisaged (some 208 bedrooms) and conference
centre, clubhouse and leisure facilities.
Developers, St Andrews Bay Development, have already had
one plan knocked back by Fife Council and have appealed to the Secretary of
State for Scotland, at the same time submitting a further more comprehensive
plan for the £50 million scheme.
SCOONIEHILL - a relative newcomer in comparison to
Kingask, plans for the Scooniehill Development have been submitted by
the St Andrews International Golf Club Ltd. and cover some 500 acres between
the Grange Road and Cairnsmill Caravan Park.
Plans include two golf courses, clubhouse and leisure club
along with members accommodation. Much of the building at Scooniehill is
proposed on the sites of existing buildings.
FEDDINCH - the latest arrival on the St Andrews golfing
developments scene, but the largest.
Covering some 600 acres the plans, which are still very
much in the outline stage, include 600 holiday units, a 150/200 bedroom hotel,
350 conference suites, clubhouse, spa, sports/leisure facilities, a golf course
and golf range. more Planning
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