Details have emerged of the proposed new link road for St Andrews which show it flanked by a new parkland gateway to the historic town.
However, it could also run through an existing arboretum resulting in several prized specimens being chopped down.
Planning consent has been sought for the road and a roundabout on the A91 to provide access to the Langlands site and allow construction of the new Madras College secondary school.
The application from the St Andrews West LLP consortium sets out a vision for an attractive North Haugh ‘feature landscape’, which would be one of the principal parks for the St Andrews West expansion of more than 1,000 new homes.
Included in the park would be a tree-lined avenue walkway and a bespoke building of architectural merit.
It is proposed the new road, to eventually provide access to the western expansion, would run from a roundabout by Station Park through the North Haugh, west of its pond, to Langlands.
An alternative route east of the pond and avoiding the arboretum was discounted due to issues including flood risk and constraints on the University of St Andrews which owns the land.
The North Haugh is described as an ecologically-rich and sensitive landscape, also containing ancient woodland, grassland and the famous Swilken Burn, and the consortium admitted it would be impacted upon by the construction of the road.
In a report submitted with its application, the consortium’s agent Wardrop Strategic Planning said: “The vision is for a public open space which will form one of the principal parks for St Andrews West.
“We aim to enhance what is there, replace what gets lost, provide amenity features which will offer increased enjoyment of the space and enhance the biodiversity through increased planting and connecting significant areas of native species together.”
The planning consultant said the greatest impact would be fragmentation of the arboretum, planted in the 1960s, but identical species would be planted in an arboretum walk.
Six trees listed as champions on the National Tree Register and two of special merit would be removed to make way for the road.
Several protected species of animal are also found in the North Haugh. Two badger tunnels are proposed under the road, and culverting of the burn designed to allow otter movement. Pine tree areas would be linked to enhance red squirrel habitat.
A planning application for the long-awaited new school was anticipated by the end of autumn, but Fife Council said it will now be lodged early in the new year.
It said designs were still be finalised but it remained on schedule for completion of the school for pupils to move in during the 2020-21 academic year.