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St Andrews Bay Development (Kingask)
Issues raised during turbulent planning phase
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MSP makes new plea over golf plans

The Courier, 1 July 1999

North-East Fife MSP lain Smith has made a fresh call to the Scottish Office for the ‘calling in’ of major golf and leisure planning applications relating to St Andrews.

The move has been made in the wake of Mr Smith receiving a “disappointing response” to a letter about the issue which was sent to the Scottish Secretary.

Concern has been expressed over the likely impact on the town centre and surrounding landscape. The way the proposals have been handled by Fife Council has also been called into question.

With Donald Dewar now taking over the responsibility of First Minister for Scotland, objectors who have asked for the applications to be dealt with by way of a public inquiry are pinning their hopes on him.

St Andrews Preservation Trust and St Andrews Community Council - the latter with the backing of a wide range of national conservation bodies - have already pressed the case for a call-in.

Yesterday, Mr Smith, who had also written to the Scottish Office, said it had been indicated by the departing Westminster Minister Callum Mac Donald that he would not call in the applications.

“The reply from Callum MacDonald was very disappointing, and I have written to Donald Dewar to tell him that the east area committee of Fife Council has rejected the applications for a second time.

“I hope he will use his powers to look again at this issue.

“Local people are angry about the way in which Fife Council is handling this matter.

“The applications are very large and put the green belt under threat.”

In his letter to Mr Dewar, the MSP said that councillors in east Fife who had recommended rejection of the plans had a detailed knowledge of the area, its history, heritage, needs and economy.

“I am sorry to report that despite the double rejection it seems that Fife Council is determined to make the final decision of the applications centrally.

“There is widespread concern in the local community that the decision-making process in Fife Council is not being used properly to serve the needs of the local community, and I hope you will be able to rethink this matter.”

There are now just two applications in the running, one of them the £50 million Kingask scheme, which has gained backing from Fife Council officials but which has also attracted strong objections from national conservation bodies.

The other is an £18m plan for Scooniehill, which has not found favour with officials, and has been recommended for refusal by members of the east area committee.

Final decisions are due to be made by members of the council’s central strategic development committee next week, although it is expected that the Kingask plans will be approved.

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