StaySafe St Andrews; effective policies or emperor’s new clothes?

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Backed by more than 70 town based organisations and commercial enterprises, Tourism St Andrews has developed a charter: Stay Safe St Andrews ‘designed to safeguard our communities, protecting the wellbeing of our visitors, residents, employees and students’.

However, residents are questioning whether the Charter is meaningful, given the fact that St Andrews town centre pavements are narrow and therefore compliance with physical distancing policy impossible without changes in pavement /road layout. Although St Andrews businesses have nearly all signed up to the Charter, which commits all participants to following Scottish Government guidance, they have been unwilling to support the measures in the guidance designed to facilitate physical distancing in the town’s streets.

The St Andrews Spaces for People Alliance, which includes representatives of CSARA, SASC and the Students Union, has put forward proposals to enable physical distancing, such as temporarily removing some parking spaces, to allow pedestrians to walk on the roadway and pop-up cycle lanes to be introduced. However, at the time of writing no meaningful changes to road layouts, for which Fife Council has received £2.4M funding under the Scottish Government’s Spaces for People initiative, have been introduced in St Andrews. due to push-back from the St Andrews business community which will not countenance any measure which would reduce parking availability, claiming that it will spell the ‘death knell’ of the town centre.

Photo: Market St South side Wednesday 5th July 2020

The town is already exceptionally busy and this can only increase when Madras pupils return on August 12th and the University begins to reopen from the 24th August. Nearly 50% of the University’s 9,000 students are from overseas, many from high Covid-19 areas, including the United States.

CSARA: Confederation of St Andrews Residents’ Associations

SASC: St Andrews Space for Cycling


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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