Farmland to the North-east of the existing park just outside Kincaple had been earmarked for 18 new luxury holiday lodges, a reception and manager’s accommodation, and a biomass heating plant but St Andrews Forest Lodges Limited failed to secure consent for the project which would have effectively doubled the size of the holiday park.
Sixty objections to the plans had been received by Fife Council, with concerns ranging from the loss of arable land and the impact on the environment to noise and drainage issues and councillors on the North East Fife Planning Committee voted 8-4 to reject the application.
SNP’s David MacDiarmid and Ann Verner raised concerns about the loss of trees and road safety respectively, while Conservative councillor Andy Heer said the development would “overwhelm” the existing settlement of Kincaple, “It seems to me there are going to be more homes here than houses in the actual village,” adding that he feared that wastewater systems would be unable to cope.
St Andrews Lib Dem councillor Jane-Ann Liston moved refusal, suggesting the development’s scale and density was out of character with the area, would have an impact on the environment and infrastructure, and posed road safety issues.
An amendment backing the application, lodged by Lib Dem councillor Bill Porteous and seconded by Conservative councillor Tony Miklinski, was voted down.
St Andrews Forest Lodges had said local producers and builders would be employed during the construction stages, while the extension would also create two full-time and two part-time jobs.
Ryan Day, property and portfolio manager at Hoseasons, which would have helped to market the accommodation, described the domestic lodge sector as “extremely buoyant” at present, and argued there is a huge demand in the St Andrews area.
He said: “The traditional season of Easter to the end of October is rapidly becoming a thing of the past and it is evident that more quality accommodation is coming into the market suitable for all-year round breaks, and in particular a huge increase in ‘holiday snacking’ of two, three and four-night breaks.
“This provides a superb boost for local tourism as visitors are now taking holidays at times of the year traditionally not as popular as the main summer holiday school weeks.”
The refusal was welcomed by local residents who had campaigned vigorously against the plans.
Allan Burns, one of the opponents of the proposals, said: “It’s come as a great relief to the village and there’s an overwhelming feeling that common sense has prevailed. We are particularly appreciative of several of the local councillors for listening to our concerns, in particular Councillor Jane Ann Liston, who visited the village to see how the proposed park would adversely impact on the village.
“However, we are minded that the applicant may yet appeal the decision and therefore we will continue to monitor the situation.”
Picture: artists impression of new development