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Fife Council probes Swilcan Bridge ‘patio’ planning permission

The stone circle at the entrance to the Swilcan Bridge at the Old Course, St Andrews. Image: Mhairi Edwards/DC Thomson
The stone circle at the entrance to the Swilcan Bridge at the Old Course, St Andrews. Image: Mhairi Edwards/DC Thomson

Council officials in Fife are investigating whether a controversial addition to the Old Course’s iconic Swilcan Bridge needs planning permission.

Work has been carried out by St Andrews Links Trust to add a round stone platform on one side of the bridge.

The move is in an attempt to protect the ground from the large amount of foot traffic it gets.

Visitors normally stand in the area to take photos.

How the Swilcan Bridge looked before the addition of the paving. Image: Kris Miller/DC Thomson

The addition of the stone circle has sparked a debate with many critical of the visual impact it is having on the B-listed landmark – one of the most famous sites in world golf.

Some have likened it to a garden “patio”.

Now, The Courier has learned that the local authority is looking into whether St Andrews Links Trust may need to apply for retrospective permission for the paving.

Council investigating paving

Alastair Hamilton, planning service manager at Fife Council, said: “We’re aware of the works which have been undertaken and are investigating the situation.

“We will confirm whether there’s a need for any retrospective planning or listed building consents in due course.”

One fan has described the new stonework as akin to¬†“drawing a moustache on the Mona Lisa”.

Fans getting their photo taken on the Swilcan Bridge at the weekend. Image: Mhairi Edwards/DC Thomson

In a previous statement addressing concerns over the changes to the Swilcan Bridge, a statement from St Andrews Links Trust said: “Ongoing efforts are being undertaken to ensure any final installation, including size, shape and material, is in keeping with its surroundings.

“We recognise that as such an iconic landmark in golf, the Swilcan Bridge retains a special place in the heart of many golfers and as such can be an emotive topic.

“We are confident we will find the best ongoing solution to preserve the iconic nature of the Swilcan Bridge and its surroundings while ensuring that as many people as possible can continue to visit the site year round.”

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