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St Andrews Bay Development (Kingask)
Issues raised during turbulent planning phase
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Objectors buoyed by Historic Scotland letter

Michael Alexander, The Courier, 22 June 1999

The chairman of St Andrews Community Council has made a fresh appeal for the Scottish Office to “call-in” the multi-million pound golf and leisure developments proposed for Kingask, Feddinch and Scooniehill.

Dr Frank Riddell said he believed the case for a public inquiry had been “enhanced and strengthened” over the past few days by the contents of a letter from Historic Scotland (HS) to Fife Council.

The letter dated June 14 appears to reinforce many of the points made by St Andrews Community Council in its recent appeal for a call-in.

It warns such development could have a detrimental effect upon the character, fabric and landscape setting of the town. It also suggests the applications might be viewed as being of national and perhaps European significance due to their potential impact on the unique setting of St Andrews.

But Dr Riddell said it was also significant that the views had been expressed by one of the Scottish Office’s own inspectors, since HS is a Government-sponsored agency tasked with protecting Scotland’s historic monuments, buildings and lands.

Dr Riddell has written a second letter to Scottish Secretary John Reid emphasising again that the only fair way forward was for all the issues to be explored at a full joint public inquiry.

In his letter to Fife Council, HS inspector John Lynn points out the “unparalleled historic significance" of St Andrews in Scotland. He says it remains an identifiably medieval university town, “unique in Britain and rare in Europe.”

On Kingask, Mr Lynn said it was crucial the proposals are considered in relation to the effect on the outstanding landscape setting.

He said a development of this scale would “inevitably increase traffic on local roads and in St Andrews which already suffers from too many motor vehicles.”

Mr Lynn also said approval of the proposals could lead to a series of further applications for the area.

He adds, “Whilst any one of these developments might raise the profile of St Andrews as the home of golf, the accompanying pressure upon the infrastructure of St Andrews and its hinterland and cumulative demand for development of various kinds would in our opinion have a detrimental effect upon the historic character and fabric of the town in its landscape setting.”

It also noted the developments would breach various local and national planning policies, as well as the St Andrews Strategic Study.

The potential investment involved in applications for sites at Kingask, Feddinch and Scooniehill is estimated at well over £200 million.

Fife Council recently voted to take final decisions on the proposals out of the hands of the East Area development committee after arguing that there were strategic issues affecting Fife as a whole.

But Dr Riddell said the views of HS further underlined that the only fair way was for all the issues to be explored in a full joint Scottish Office public inquiry.

Support for a call-in has also come from North East Fife MP Menzies Campbell and his Scottish Parliament counterpart lain Smith.

As things stand, the three applications will be considered by Fife Council’s East Area development committee in Cupar on June 29 before finally being decided at a special meeting of the centrally-based strategic development committee on July 7.

However, pressure is mounting for this timetable to be altered until the facts for each application are known.

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