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£10m St Andrews Retirement Village Plans Resurface After Appeal

Gleneagles Holiday Park Limited’s application to create 35 retirement caravans has resurfaced after the company filed an appeal to the Planning and Environmental Appeals Division in objection to the ruling made by the Fife Council. The new development would be located four miles south of St Andrews on Northbank Farm. The plans for the caravan were rejected by the Fife Council in December 2021 due to concerns about increased traffic in the area on A915, as well as hopes to preserve the environment, farmland, and view of the rural location. Though the plans garnered 13 letters of support, 14 letters of objection were also received and the council rejected it. Now, the Scottish Government Reporter will have the final say on the decision about whether or not to approve the development. Said a spokesperson for Montgomery Forgan Associates on behalf of the appealers:

“This is not a housing development, it is a development of 35 retirement caravans. It is acknowledged that some owner/occupiers may still choose to work and therefore there will be traffic movements at peak periods. However, the existing junction onto the A915 is designed to Fife Council standards and can easily accommodate any increase in traffic numbers.

“The transport development management service states that there is a presumption against the intensification of [use of] existing accesses on unrestricted distributor roads outwith established built up area. Taking this position means that there will never be an opportunity for any appropriate and justified development in countryside areas, which is unjustifiable. Sustainable modes of transport (including public transport) are readily and safely available, meaning that there is not a necessity to use private motor vehicles to access local amenities.”

The agents also noted that, contrary to the claims of the councilors that more caravans would cause the site to become overdeveloped (the 35 new caravans would bring the total amount to over 50), the retirement caravans would fully be within Scottish Government standards for such sites. In addition, they added that the layout was designed to include landscaped areas to preserve the sanctity of the original site, as well as adding that the site would meld into the adjacent park without issue. The applicants had previously argued that the caravans would bring business during the winter months due to the market for holiday lodges in addition to serving as affordable retirement housing, as well as noting that the site had been set aside for residential use.

The council had previously approved the plans because they were in accordance with local plans but later turned them down upon receiving letters of objection. Said St Andrews Councillor Brian Thomson:

“We had planning permission for much-needed affordable houses for people who work in the countryside. Now we’re talking about retirement accommodation with asignificant increase on the previous application. People there will be in and out all day and there will be more need for local services. This is an unsustainable location.”

The appeal is set to be given to the Government Reporter, where a final decision is set to be reached on whether to approve the plans.

Image: Sabine van Erp

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