Fife Council’s North East Planning Committee rejected the planning application in May to build the 90-bed hotel and homes for 100 students at Abbey Park, on grounds which included the fact that student accommodation was not a use set out for the land in the council’s local development plan but developer Robertson Property has now appealed the decision.
Its agent Barton Willmore said there was a strong need for both hotel and student accommodation in St Andrews, with the hotel of the style and scale sought by the council to address market imbalance and encourage more day trippers to stay overnight.
The developer’s submission states: “The new student accommodation will provide a use that is complementary to both the hotel and the surrounding residential properties, which will help to provide accommodation for some of the 3,946 students that currently do not have access to purpose-built student accommodation and who rely on securing accommodation through the local housing market. This will reduce the pressure on the local housing market, freeing up more availability for the resident population, while also housing students in a managed residential environment with support staff on hand.”
At the time of the original rejection, Dr Sandra Stewart, spokesperson for the Abbey Park Residents’ Action Group, said residents’ quality of life would have been ruined by the development had it not been rejected by the Planning Committee.
She said: “For all of us who have moved in there, and paid significant amounts of money for our properties, our lives would have been destroyed. All along I felt very, very passionately that this was nothing short of corporate greed. We got the result we hoped for, this is a great result for local democracy. ”She also urged the developer to engage with the community to try to find a solution. “I think if we all sat down together we could devise something that would suit everyone”.
The council has been asked to respond to the appeal by the Scottish Government’s Directorate for Planning and Environmental Appeals. A reporter appointed by the government will visit the site and is expected to issue a decision by December 6.