Campaigners who fought unsuccessfully against plans for a new hotel and student accommodation in St Andrews have urged the developers to “liaise” with them if any issues have arisen at the site.
In May 2020, Abbey Park Residents’ Action Group (APRAG) lost its battle after a Scottish Government reporter upheld Robertson Property’s appeal against the local planning committee’s unanimous decision to reject a 90-bed hotel and homes for 100 students at Abbey Park.
Work started on the site some months ago, APFRAG says.
However APRAG told The Courier they were informed by Robertson some weeks ago that “all work would be stopping on the site due to difficulties with contract negotiations”.
‘Danger of being over-hotelled’
APRAG said in a statement: “They have undertaken to remove temporary buildings and all equipment at least until the fourth quarter.
“Clearly, this means no hotel could be completed before next year’s Open.
“Moreover, a new budget hotel has been approved for Largo Road and the Rusacks and Old Course hotels are putting on extra rooms.
“As we argued St Andrews is in danger of being over-hotelled.
“There is also uncertainty over the need for student residential accommodation post-pandemic.
“If there are now problems with Robertson’s plans we urge them to liaise with APRAG before submitting any revised plans for the site.”
Development ‘on track’
A spokesperson for Robertson said: “We will not comment on rumour or speculation, but can confirm a new planning application is not being ‘drawn up’ and that the project is on track to be delivered for the academic session commencing in 2023.”
APRAG claimed previously that their lives in a normally tranquil part of town would be “destroyed” by a blueprint “based on avarice”.
History of application
The application was originally thrown out by Fife Council’s North East planning committee on the grounds that student accommodation was not a use set out for the land in the council’s local development plan.
However, when Robertson Property subsequently appealed to the Scottish Government’s Directorate for Planning and Environmental Appeals (DPEA) and when this was granted by the Reporter to the Scottish Government, subject to 32 conditions specified in his report, the developer suggested there was a strong need for both hotel and student accommodation in St Andrews.
The developer maintained the planned hotel was the style and scale sought by Fife Council to address market imbalance and encourage more day trippers to stay overnight.