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St Andrews Bay Development (Kingask)
Issues raised during turbulent planning phase
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Golf application report heavily criticised

The Courier, 26 June 1999

The conclusions of a report by two top Fife planning officials on the major go and leisure applications facing St Andrews have been criticised by a leading councillor and by local conservationists.

Yesterday St Andrews West and Strathkinness member Frances Melville said that it had been a “foregone conclusion” that reports would recommend the go-ahead for a £50 million project at Kingask.

Mrs Melville also said that head of planning David Rae had been highly selective - particularly in reference to coastal planning issues and the views of national conservation bodies - in an overview he has prepared for members of the strategic development committee.

She found immediate backing from St Andrews Preservation Trust chairman Dorothea Morrison, who described the overview as a “whitewash” and added that her body “had lost all trust in Fife Council”.

The latest comments come as the time for final decisions on major plans for Kingask, Feddinch and Scooniehill draws nearer.

Next week North East Fife councillors will be asked for a view on the applications, but the final decision has been taken controversially away from the local arena and passed into the hands of the central strategic development committee.

The Kingask plans envisage a 208-bedroom hotel, 400-person conference facility, 40 ancillary hotel units in five buildings, leisure facilities, two golf courses and a clubhouse.

Conservation bodies have expressed concern over the landscape impact and effect of extra traffic on the town.

Papers to come before next week’s meeting of the area development committee highlight the view of Mr Rae, and east area manager Jim Birrell, that positive support could not be given to Scooniehill or Feddinch but that support for Kingask would be possible.

There would, however, have to be an extensive and rigorous series of planning conditions, an effective and enforceable “green travel plan” and improvements made by the developers to the road network.

Mrs Melville said, “It appears that the well-articulated objections put forward at the packed departure hearings have been dismissed out of hand along with the unanimity of major national bodies.

“Support from council departments and Fife Enterprise are trotted out along with comments from the tourist board which supports such a development in principle.”

Mrs Morrison said that the preservation trust now had no faith in the ability of the council to deal with the Kingask issue impartially.

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