Plans submitted for uni halls expansion

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The first stage of the University of St Andrews’ project to increase student accomodation in the town has begun.

The university has submitted two applications to extend its halls of residence as part of a £70 million scheme to boost the number of beds for students.

Planning applications were put in to extend both the Agnes Blackadder Hall and the University Hall, which, when completed, should offer around 360 extra bedrooms.

The applications are part of a project to provide 900 extra beds for students, which will see the amount of accomodation reach 4900 beds.

Work is expected to begin on the expansion in August 2017 in time for the beginning of the 2018/19 term.

The university said the project was a long-term strategy to manage an increase in the number of students attending.

A statement said: “St Andrews has always been a small university, and intends to stay relatively small. The intimacy of the town, the closeness of the community and the interaction of town and gown are key elements of the St Andrews experience.

“However, we do plan managed, moderate student growth over the next 10 years.

“Such growth will help us resist inflationary pressures on our costs and allow us to fund new projects.Such growth will however require investment in more residential accommodation.”

As well as the expansion of the halls of residence, Gregory Place, Old Wing – University Hall, and Andrew Melville Hall will also undergoing refurbishment as part of the plans.

The university confirmed that the expansion will have no impact on the rest of the building.

Callum MacLeod, chairman of St Andrews Community Council, said the group welcomed news of the expansion.

“We discussed it at our planning meeting and we had no objections,” he said.

“We welcome any attempt by the university to increase accomodation for its students.

“It should mean there is less need for family houses and flats for the students.”

But he also expressed concern about a possible increase in student numbers.

Mr MacLeod added: “It’s welcome news as long as the university continues to balance its student numbers.

“It has a responsibility to accomodate as many students as possible.”