According to an article by the Courier published on 21 October, construction work has begun on the new David Wilson Homes development in Craigtoun, St Andrews. The site is positioned on a 17-hectare plot purchased from Savills. It is located near the Younger Gardens, which is in the south-east area of Fife. David Wilson Homes is a subcategory of Barratt Developments.
The project was first submitted by Savills in 2015. It was not until 2019, however, that Fife Council approved the development plans to formally proceed.
Among the buildings being constructed, there will be 240 private and 104 affordably priced homes. These houses will include types ranging from two-storey houses, apartments, terraced housing, semi-detached and detached buildings, and bungalows. In addition, the plans include proposals for two hectares of employment land, green networks, open spaces, 2000 square meters of retail, and a link road. The development will also comprise a community hub, which is likely to provide the possibility of a hotel being built.
Employees of David Wilson Homes claim that the affordable homes, in particular, will be largely beneficial to St Andrews, as housing prices continue to rise in the area. Some of the most expensive in Scotland, the average cost of a home in Fife was £519,124 between September 2021 and August 2022. This equates to more than double the average for the country as a whole.
Ben Brough, the head of development for Savills Scotland, said, “St Andrews is an evergreen location in high demand from all over Scotland and further afield, demonstrated by the high levels of interest this site has generated”.
He continued: “The western expansion of the town represents the first major addition of new, high quality housing stock in over 20 years and, importantly for local buyers, includes a much needed 30 per cent affordable housing element”.
In early August 2022, David Wilson Homes held a “Meet the Developer” event in order to recruit various craftsmen. According to Scottish Housing News, the house builder particularly aimed to enlist subcontractors such as painters, decorators, plumbers, and electricians. The event included a presentation from Barratt Developments and an overview of the construction plans.
Lynn Gordon, the commercial director at the Scotland branch of Barratt Developments, said at the time: “We’re really pleased to have finalised our purchase of the land at Craigtoun in St Andrews and are now looking to supplement our existing sub-contractor base to help us deliver this high-quality housing development”.
Regarding the event, he added: “Those who believe they have the relevant skills and experience may have worked with us previously or be new to Barratt Developments. Alternatively, they could currently be working in the commercial sector and considering expanding into house building. The trades we’re looking for include - but are not limited to electricians, plumbers, painters and decorators, joiners, roofers, scaffolders, bricklayers, landscapers and mastic sealant contractors”.
This ‘Meet the Developer’ event was held in order to ensure that the construction is being developed by the most skilled subcontractors in the area. Those who are now included in the project have claimed that their work will not interrupt the surrounding area.
Adam Richardson of Savills Planning said that the plan for the land in Craigtoun “follows key placemaking principles”, which will guarantee that the new neighbourhood is delivered “sustainably and sensitively, befitting [of] this historic town”.
However, there are some who have concerns about the new housing development.
Fife Councillor Robin Lawson, member of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist party, said, “[St Andrews] is to some extent a victim of its own success, in that it has attracted investors from around the globe as well as people simply wishing to live here”.
He explained that lots of young people who were born and have spent their lives here, “are being ‘priced out’ of living in town. This has increased commuter traffic as workers drive here every morning from other parts of Fife”.
Councillor Lawson continued, “The University has major plans to create much needed additional student accommodation, but this is being delayed by the lack of electricity! Scottish Power will not connect Albany Park to the grid for another three years pending a major upgrade of the power line from Cupar to St Andrews”.