STRATHKINNESS COMMUNITY COUNCIL.

6 Mount Melville Crescent,

Strathkinness,

St.Andrews,

Fife.

KY16 9XS

21st December 2009.

Keith Winter, Esq.,

Head of Development Services,

Fife Council,

Fife House,

North Street,

Glenrothes,

Fife.

KY7 5LT

Dear Sir,

Ref:- St.Andrews & East Fife Local Plan- consultation 2009.

I refer to previous correspondence from Development Services regarding the above Plan. The Community Council has studied and discussed the proposals outlined in the Plan and, on their behalf, I submit their comments and observations.

Housing Allocation:-  The Council do not accept the initial concept that a total of over 1000 houses would be of major benefit to St. Andrews. The Structure Plan states that Academia and Tourism would be the economic drivers for St.Andrews. The Council acknowledges the benefit of a University Science Park ,should the University be under increasing pressure to provide new research and development facilities,and that some  new  and affordable housing is required for St. Andrews, however, it fails to see the rationale of adding 1000 houses to an already very congested town and can see no benefit to tourism, in fact, quite the opposite. The University has recently stated that it expects the student population to remain at around the current level of 7000. It should take the opportunity to build more student residences to ease the pressure on housing in the town. The impact on the existing road infrastructure in and around  St.Andrews and the nearby communities would be immense.

Green Belt:-  The Council is of the opinion that the St.Andrews Green Belt inner and outer limits should be clearly defined prior to any future expansion. The Council is very supportive of the efforts being made by St.Andrews Green Belt Forum.

Brownfield Sites:-  The Council believes that all “ Brownfield Sites” within the existing town boundary should be developed for housing before any proposed expansion to the west of the existing town boundary is authorised. Sheltered, retirement and rental housing projects should be encouraged for development on these sites, because of the close proximity to the town centre, hospital and shops.

Industrial development:- The Council believes that all industrial development for the St. Andrews area should be focused on the site of the old paper mill at Guardbridge. It is appreciated that this site was not available during the drafting of the Local Plan, but now that it has become available, every effort should be made to assimilate it into the current Plan, to reduce the flow of commercial traffic into St. Andrews. The University should be encouraged to locate any large commercial projects on the site.

Proposed Housing Developments:- Two major developments have recently been proposed, St.Andrews West Plan being promoted by Headon Developments and the University and Craigtoun Road/ Kinness Valley Plan being promoted by Macdonald Estates and Mount Melville.  The Council has studied both projects and the majority of Councillors have stated that in the eventuality of any expansion to the west of the town being approved, they would prefer to see it in the area of the Kinness Valley. Housing in this area would have minimal impact on the landscape or skyline of the town, compared to the St.Andrews West Plan sited on the visually sensitive area to the north of Strathkinness Low Road.

Additional comments by Councillors :-

As the closest community to the west of St.Andrews any major expansion along the Strathkinness High and Low Roads would bring St. Andrews within 1 mile of Strathkinness and an inevitable increase in traffic volumes through our village. What consideration will be given to improving the road networks serving St. Andrews?

There is little practical evidence of external commercial organisations pushing for an involvement with the University.

The belief that St.Andrews needs, or will benefit from, the additional housing is suspect.

The Fife Planning Authority has missed a golden opportunity to concentrate on a business sector which the unique conditions within St. Andrews could support, i.e. retirement services with attendant accommodation. Personal security, ease of access to the town, recreational facilities, transport infrastructure for movement of individuals outside peak work related trips, all appeal to a population sector that could spread the use of local services more evenly throughout the year.

There is no plan to increase student numbers. Why does the University need to expand?

A potential increase in the town’s population of at least 3000 people will only add to the already congested town centre infrastructure.

A large proportion of affordable housing should be managed by Housing Associations and should not enter the housing market for at least 10 years. This would help to stabilise this housing sector.

How many people who live in St.Andrews actually work in St.Andrews? Will the 1000 houses just add to the growing dormitory population who clog the roads in and out of the town every working day? Fife Council should prioritise new building where jobs already exist.

Thank you for this opportunity to express the considered views of the Community Council and look forward to the continuing debate.

Yours faithfully,

Iain Duncan. Secretary.