Fife councillors have backed plans for a new hotel in St Andrews despite more than 40 objections from the local community.
In a split vote, local representatives on the council’s North East Planning Committee voted to approve the application with two minor amendments.
Some on the committee strongly objected to the proposal for a new 57-bed hotel in St Andrews.
The hotel would be located on Largo road, the main route in and out of St Andrews, and the site is currently home to a disused 2-story former garage unit.
One Fife councillor described the planned design as a “carbuncle”, saying it looked like a “gulag”.
Others on the committee raised questions about the number of jobs the hotel would create, and whether more employment could be offered by an office in the same area.
Cllr Jane Ann Liston, who represents St Andrews, proposed that the application was refused.
She cited concerns with the building’s impact on a neighbouring bungalow in the Fife town.
However, councillors voted against Cllr Liston by eight votes to five after over an hour of debate on Wednesday, June 2.
Councillors who supported the application asked developers to provide a contingency plan in the event the proposed car lift for the hotel car park were to break down.
Describing the current use and state of the building, developers said in their proposal it was not suitable for conversion.
Poor building condition
“The building extends across most of the rear length of the site and forward towards Largo Road at the East site boundary.
“The condition of the building is poor, its size, form, layout & construction does not lend itself for conversion,” they said.
A motion to approve the application was proposed by Cllr Bill Porteus and second by Cllr Brian Thomson.
A large number of local objections to the plan had been raised, including from the St Andrews Community Council.
Miss Uprichard, on behalf of the community council, described the design as “cramped”, and raised concerns about the amount of traffic on Largo Road.
The community council also questioned the need for another hotel, pointing out one was located some 150 yards from the proposed site.
Other local residents objected to the loss of “viable” retail space in their objections.
However, Fife planning chiefs, in response to the concerns, said the site was not part currently allocated for employment use.
They also pointed out the business which had occupied the site had now opened at an alternate location.
The proposed development would not give rise to a significant increase in traffic
Referring to a recent demand survey, planning bosses also said there appeared to be market demand for another hotel in the town.
Regarding concerns about the increase in traffic, a planning report said: “A Transport Statement has been submitted which, giving consideration to the current retail
use, confirms that the proposed development would not give rise to a significant increase in vehicular traffic.”
Developers say the hotel will meet a need in St Andrews for hotels of an ‘Upper Midscale’ criteria.
No operator has been identified for the hotel, councillors were informed.