From BID St Andrews: An Open Letter to Fife Council
We, the undersigned, are writing this letter in an attempt to increase your understanding of our current situation, the implications of the Spaces for People Proposal sanctioned by Fife Council, and the actions we have taken in an attempt to overcome the challenges that Covid19 has posed to us as businesses and residents of St Andrews.
As individual businesses and collectively as part of BID St Andrews, everything we do is for the businesses we represent and the town centre that needs our continued investment. We are driven to give them not only the support needed, but to also give them a voice in the community and beyond.
The economy of St Andrews has a turnover of approximately £670 million and accounts for nearly a third of all job growth across Fife. We generate over £280 million in wages within the town and over £135 million in wages flowing out to the communities out with St Andrews.
The businesses have invested, through our BID Membership over £700,000 into the town over the past 4 years. We have worked hard to ensure that the streetscape is enhanced, that the environment supports the continued growth of the employment market and the economy, and that the local community is well serviced. However, the pandemic has placed our thriving economy in jeopardy. Reports over the past couple of months document the significant contraction of the UK economy because of Covid-19 lockdown, and the economic impact on Fife will be great and St Andrews will not be immune to this. Notwithstanding the current health crisis, a recent report from the Fraser of Allander Institute has said that Scotland is now in its deepest recession in living memory. With economic recessions leading to increased levels of poor health, mental illness, suicide due to unemployment, financial difficulties, debt and loss of a home, this will be a financial ticking time-bomb for Fife Council. We want to do everything to prevent this but many of our businesses are on their knees, many have had to make redundancies already and some have already closed for good.
The response to COVID19 has rightly been about saving lives, and the businesses of St Andrews responded quickly and without hesitation by shutting our doors and adapting our business models to ensure that the community had access to essential supplies. Our town is now open for business, and we want to recover as quickly and as safely as possible. We have signed up to the Stay Safe St Andrews Charter in addition to the safety measures we are all adhering to within our own businesses as directed by the Scottish Government.
We engaged with Fife Council as soon as we heard about the £2.4 million awarded for the Spaces for People Fund, so we could actively and positively be involved in how the programme could help in our town. We believe it is imperative that we work together to develop approaches and actions that can be implemented in the short term to support public health and businesses during this very challenging time.
Over the past few months, as these proposals have been discussed we have been approached by many businesses and members of the public concerned about the loss of key on-street parking spaces to the so-called temporary pavement widening.
We wish it to be put on record that there has been no meaningful consultation with those businesses directly impacted by these proposals. We would like to understand what the science behind the measures is, what evidence was collected, and how each of the streets were assessed in order for the proposals to be approved.
We would also like to know what the KPIs are for the measures and who the keydecision makers are on this project.
We understand that Fife Council are implementing these measures on health and safety grounds but some of the measures directly contradict and contravene the government’s recommendations that the public try and avoid public transport and travel by car if possible, to stop the spread of COVID19. How can they travel if they can’t park?
It also needs to be pointed out that the people who will suffer the most from the removal of these on car parking spaces will be the elderly and disabled who will no longer be able to access the shopping centre without difficulty. We have over 1000 octogenarians living in St Andrews, many of whom rely on access to the town for essentials. As we come into Winter and the predictably inclement weather it brings, proximity of parking is even more important for safety, particularly for the older population or those with accessibility issues. For many, coming into town is their only escape from a solitary and isolated existence with the shop assistants being familiar friendly faces to them. Another effect of these measures will be to force drivers to park on side roads thereby inconveniencing local residents.
We can say without any doubt that the implementation of some of these measures will have a devastating impact on our businesses, our families, and beyond. As individual businesses and as an organisation we have long been campaigning about the serious lack of parking spaces in the area and we strongly object to these measures and want them stopped.
Ideally we would not have had to resort to a public campaign, or had to seek numerous meetings with senior council officials, or had to seek support from every political party, or appeal to the Scottish Government to step in to save our businesses; but we feel we have been left with no other path. Our businesses were relied upon, at the height of lockdown to provide essential products and services to the local community, but now we see ourselves as expendable to Fife Council.
Louise A Fraser Owner – Fraser Gallery St Andrews, Resident of St Andrews & Chair of BID St Andrews
Eric Milne Owner – Fisher & Donaldson, St Andrews
Alan Cubbage Owner – Jewel & The Gift Gallery, St Andrews
Lindsey Adam Owner – Bonkers Original Gifts, St Andrews
L anna Winter Owner – Cook Central, St Andrews
Sylvia Clarke, Owner – Susan Sloan@ No1, St Andrews
Chris Marks, Owner – Chris Marks Hairdressing, St Andrews
Claire Gourley, Manager – Jewel, St Andrews
Gary Gilbert, Owner – Alpaca Links, St Andrews
Andrew Martin, Owner – Munch, St Andrews
Chris Pritchard, Owner – Gentle Dental Care, St Andrews
Jude Innes, Owner – J&G Innes Ltd, St Andrews
Laura Chapman, Manager – Seasalt Cornwall, St Andrews
Malcolm Ritchie, Owner- Aikman’s Bar, St Andrews
Ruth Wood, Manager – Bonkers Original Gifts, St Andrews
Alexandra Chan, Owner – Embrace Life, St Andrews
Tony Fusaro, Owner- Luvians Café, St Andrews
Archie McDiarmid, Manager – Luvians Bottle Shop, St Andrews
Irene Harley, Owner – Pretty Things, St Andrews
Laura Etheridge, Manager – CCW Clothing, St Andrews
Peter Wood, Owner – St Andrews Wine Company, St Andrews
Juno Lee, Owner – Combini Co & Combini Cafe, St Andrews
James McLauchlan, Director – Combini Co & Combini Cafe, St
Clare Ferguson, Owner – The Crystal Shop Scotland Ltd, St Andrews
Tracey Gamba, Manager – Joules Store, St Andrews
Julia Campbell, Director- Specsavers, St Andrews
Richard East, Area Manager- Ryman Stationery, St Andrews
Debra Scott, Rogersons, St Andrews
Graham Winter, Owner -G Winter Property Maintenance and Landscaping
Storm Hughes, Blackhorn Burgers, St Andrews
Carolyn Miller, Owner – Millers Tale, St Andrews
Scott Murray Owner- Petite Beu, St Andrews
Sienna Sproson, Director – Sproson Gallery and Framer, St Andrews
Chris Sproson, Partner – A & M Sproson Picture Framers, St Andrews
Juliet Rathbone Owner – Farmore Interiors & Farmore Home, St Andrews
Lisa Cathro, Owner – Zest Café, St Andrews
Jonathan Hicks, General Manager – Dolls House St Andrews
Andrew Thomson, Area Operations Manager – G1 Group, St Andrews
Michael Chalmers, General Manager -Victoria Cafe St Andrews
Lewis Smith – Area Operations Chef for St Andrews – G1Group
Michelle Nabal, General Manager – Forgans St Andrews
Claire Grant, General Manager – Mitchells St Andrews
Stephen Simpson, Managing Director – West Port Print & Design Ltd, St Andrews
Elaine Montgomery, Manager – Phase Eight, St Andrews
Grant Poulton, Owner – The Cottage Kitchen, St Andrews
Ian Alexander, Owner – Birchwood Emporium, St Andrews
Michael Wyles, Owner – Johnalan Hair Design, St Andrews
Duncan Swan, Senior Bookseller- Topping & Company, St Andrews
Glenn Malloy, Owner -Spoiled Life & Spoiled Hairdressing, St Andrews
Carol Cameron, Manager – Sense Scotland, St Andrews
Amanda Thompson, Partner – Wilson and Partners Veterinary Surgeons, St Andrews
Stephen and Sara Boardman, Owners – FootMed Podiatry, St Andrews
Bill Geddes, Owner – CCW, St Andrews
Pauline Dempsey, Owner – Escape Beauty Salon, St Andrews
Sarah Mowbray, Manager – Jo Malone London, St Andrews
Steph Morrison, Manager – Kartel, St Andrews
Ewan Corsie, Manager – Pizza Express, St Andrews
Owen Hazel, Owner – Jannettas Gelateria, St Andrews