Plans for a 681-bedroom student accommodation complex overlooking the East Sands in St Andrews have been approved.
The £70 million development at Albany Park, near St Andrews University’s Gatty Marine Laboratory, includes eight new buildings and the conversion of Woodburn House into warden accommodation.
It replaces previous student homes, which provided 333 single rooms in dated buildings until they were demolished.
Fife Council’s north east planning committee discussed the proposal on Wednesday.
The Royal Burgh of St Andrews Community Council was among 38 objectors, highlighting concerns including transport issues, the height of the buildings and the use of modern construction materials.
A total of 108 parking spaces will be provided, including three for disabled motorists and three with electric charging points.
During the holidays, the university will be able to let out a maximum of 201 bedrooms to the general public and 100 to students.
Fife Council service manager Alastair Hamilton said: “The previous accommodation on this site was for 333 single rooms in 10 separate buildings. This proposal would replace that with 681 bedrooms within eight new buildings.
“There’s also a proposition to have some of those buildings used outwith term time for additional hotel type accommodation, which is common with a number of other university buildings around the area.
“The consideration here in relation to that was in regard to the amount of parking available and that has required a condition to limit the numbers that are available.”
He added that the council’s transportation service had “no issues” with the amount of parking proposed.
SNP councillor David MacDiarmid said the design was an improvement on previous university accommodation.
“I fully welcome this application. I think there’s a lot of work gone into it to make the thing work,” he said.
“The university is not renowned for its appropriate design for student accommodation. If you look at the pond site end of the town, it’s like something out of war-torn Eastern Europe.”
There is currently a freeze on residential homes in central St Andrews being turned into houses in multiple occupation (HMOs).
Mr MacDiarmid said: “I hope that in the event of this accommodation block being full, it will free up some family homes in the town.”
Conservative councillor Tony Miklinski welcomed the propsals, saying: “I think it’s amazing the way this has been designed, to make it appear absorbed into the existing landscape.”