Below, resident’s letter to the editor in response to a planning application, approved by Fife Council officials but rejected by councillors, to place a fast-food van in one of the gardens in Greyfriars Gardens:
It would seem inconceivable that Fife Council planners could recommend for approval an application on behalf of the Kinnettles Hotel to permanently site a fast food van (see photo) in a highly visible historic garden in the outstanding St Andrews Conservation Area. But that is exactly what is proposed, as reported in last week’s Citizen.
The fast food van is proposed to be placed in one of the gardens in Greyfriars Garden, an Iconic streetscape with the gardens serving the listed houses on the other side of the road.
Fortunately, the planners were sent back to think again when the application came before a meeting of the North East Planning Committee on 9th February. This was because it emerged that the location was not in the core retail area as stated in the planning report, but outside it, where different policies apply. However, council officials stated that the an amended report would be resubmitted at the next committee meeting with the recommendation for approval unchanged.
Concern was voiced by councillors when it was revealed that the author of the report had never visited the site. If he had, he would have noticed that the proposed location was not surrounded by pubs shops and restaurants as he had reported, but is in a predominately residential area with houses in close proximity. Few householders would welcome a fast food van, with opening hours from 8am to 8pm permanently parked on the other side of their garden fence.
Greyfriars Garden is protected by National and Fife Council’s own policies which state that only development which preserves or enhances the conservation area should be permitted. The gardens are on the site of the medieval Greyfriars Monastery and planning policy also states that historic sites must be protected against unsuitable development.
Granting planning permission for this application would be contrary to all these policies, place a commercial value on the other gardens in the street and lead to a domino effect, placing other gardens at risk.
St Andrews is not short of food and drink premises. At the last count there were ninety-six in the town, sixty of which were cafes or takeaways.
Fife Council should now have the wisdom to retreat from its untenable position.
This proposal is clearly a fast-food van too far.