University’s £70m plans for Albany Park rejected

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Fife Council planners have formally refused planning permission for the project which includes 17 student residence blocks (see artist’s impression), associated landscaping, 107 car parking spaces and other works, including clearance of the existing buildings on site, were tabled, along with plans for a new student facilities building.

The proposal would provide 754 student beds, a substantial increase on the 340 single rooms previously available on the site close to the East Sands Leisure Centre.

However, 17 objections were received, with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) being one of the major objectors.

Sepa officials said proposals to open up the culverted St Nicholas Burn flowing through the site could have pose a flood risk, adding more clarification was needed. A spokesman said: “We object to the proposed development on the grounds that it may place buildings and persons at flood risk contrary to Scottish Planning Policy.”

Other objections were received from the Confederation of St Andrews Residents’ Associations (CSARA), The St Andrews Community Council and the St Andrews Preservation Trust.

The Confederation of St Andrews Residents Associations objected to vehicular access through the site, adding, while it “supports” student accommodation of this type, the development needed to be “designed in such a way that it does not produce another set of problems”.

St Andrews Community Council took the view that it was “probable” residents and visitors going to the East Sands would find it difficult to find parking spaces, although it also expressed concerns about design, access and the increase in student numbers.

Another objector is the St Andrews Preservation Trust, whose planning convenor Dorothea Morrison noted: “The East Sands, including the leisure centre, is a long established popular area for families with young children. “We dare not gloss over any potential problems when the lives of these children can be put in danger.”

A spokesman for the University said: “The Scottish Environment Protection Agency objected on the grounds of flood risk to a section of the site. “We’re revising our proposals and will be re-submitting an application later this year to take account of those concerns.”

St Andrews QV (Qui Vive) is an independent not-for-profit, non-political platform for news and debates about issues that are important to the Town. It exists to hold decision makers and public services to account while its editorial policy is to accommodate all shades of opinion from all parts of the community, prioritising evidence-based arguments. St Andrews QV is a member of the Independent Community News Network and is committed to the Community Journalism Charter

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