Plans by Tiger Woods and Justin Timberlake to open a sports bar in St Andrews have provoked a furious backlash.
Many locals have reacted with shock to the announcement the superstar duo want to open a “premium sports and entertainment gastro pub” in the town’s cinema.
If approved by Fife Council planners, the B-listed New Picture House in North Street would be converted to include large-screen TVs, golf simulators, duckpin bowling and darts.
And only one of the three cinema screens would be retained.
US golfing great Tiger said the concept would add to the community and be a welcoming place for both residents and visitors.
However, many have dismissed the scheme as billionaires buying up historical landmarks for their own benefit.
Proposal is ‘disrespectful and a bit cheeky’
St Andrews Community Council member Neil Dobson said he was shocked the pair would even think about trying to secure planning permission.
He said: “What’s next, Trump buying the West Sands for a hotel?
“I find this very disrespectful and a bit cheeky, to be honest.
“This town has been very good to Tiger Woods and this is not the way to repay residents.
“St Andrews is unique and that building is iconic. An American bar is completely out of keeping.”
Mr Dobson also fears the business would be aimed primarily at tourists rather than locals.
“It will be full of American golfers with nothing left in the town for children at all,” he said.
Tiger Woods St Andrews plan is ‘celebrity vanity project’
Meanwhile, resident Chris Main also expressed opposition.
He said: “It’s astonishing a university town loses its cinema to a multi-millionaire celebrity vanity project.
“St Andrews has had a cinema here since the 1930s. My mother and father courted there.
“It’s one of the few independent cinemas left in Scotland.”
And Joan Forbes added: “I’m sick of money people coming here and taking over.
“This will be fine for those and such as those, but kids won’t have a cinema.”
Others have described the plan as “another nail in the coffin” for St Andrews.
‘If you don’t use it, you lose it”
However, another community council member says St Andrews must move with the times.
Callum MacLeod said: “There has been a lot of strong reaction against this idea.
“But it’s the old story – if you don’t use it, you lose it.
“I’ve been to the cinema recently and there was hardly anyone there.
“If it was a flourishing cinema, as it used to be, then it wouldn’t be under threat.
“St Andrews is a tourist destination and the culture has changed. Things evolve and St Andrews must evolve with it.”
Plan will secure cinema’s long-term future
Woods and Timberlake are shareholders in real estate company Nexus Luxury Collection.
If approved, their establishment T-Squared Social will be their second bar – their first opened in New York last month.
Pop icon and movie star Timberlake said he had been to St Andrews many times to play golf.
And he added: “I’m honoured to be able to invest in the town and bring our second T-Squared Social here.”
Meanwhile, New Picture House managing director David Morris said the plan would secure the venue’s long-term future.
He added: “The planned T-Squared Social investment will enable the local community, students and visitors, the opportunity to experience a broader range of cinema, dining and entertainment at the popular venue.”