A resubmitted planning application for a 681-bed student accommodation complex at Albany Park was approved by local councillors at the recent meeting of the North East Planning Committee.
The plans were opposed by 38 objectors, including the local community council, and concerns included the density and height of the planned buildings, which will be up to three-and-a-half storeys tall, the proposed transport routes from the development into town and inadequate parking. Objectors also drew attention to the likely increase in vehicle traffic in Woodburn Place and the dangerous mix of pedestrians and vehicles in the East Sands car park
The new complex will replace the University’s existing Albany Park flats and double its capacity.
Eight buildings will be constructed on the site, including a new Facilities Building for university staff and students, the erection of a boat shed, a seasonal cafe and plant facilities There will be a total of 108 parking spaces, around 77 of which will be for non-staff use. Nearly 400 cycle storage spaces are also planned.
Development Management Service Manager Alastair Hamilton told the meeting that officers had concluded that the net benefit of the proposal outweighed any potential negative impacts. He said: “Those in support say it would take pressure off of local housing stock and make use of under-utilised space away from the town centre, and offer employment opportunities.”
“There have been concerns expressed about the scale and density. They’ve been covered within the report. The existing buildings were nothing special and quite ugly, and would be replaced with something much more contemporary.”
26 conditions have been imposed in order to control the construction of the complex, noise limits and the number of rooms occupied outside of term time. St Andrews University has also agreed to fund a £5000 feasibility study to assess the creation of future cycle routes in the area.
Howe of Fife and Tay Coast councillor David MacDiarmid said: “I fully welcome this. A lot has gone into making this work. I hope that in the event of this accommodation block being full, it will free up some family homes in the town.”
Conservative councillor Tony Miklinski welcomed the propsals, saying: “I think it’s amazing the way this has been designed, to make it appear absorbed into the existing landscape.”
Derek Watson, University of St Andrews quaestor and factor, said: “This is great news for the university, our students and the community. The development is central to the iniversity’s strategy to provide more student accommodation for our students and ease the pressure on the housing stock in St Andrews.”
“The new Albany Park will provide new student accommodation of the highest quality in an attractive landscaped environment and has the potential to revitalise the eastern area of St Andrews.”