Anger at pergola that would tower over neighbouring garden

The first 'pergola', which has since been knocked down, overshadowed the garden next door.
The first 'pergola', which has since been knocked down, overshadowed the garden next door.

An infamous St Andrews ‘pergola’ that had to be taken down amid a series of planning blunders could be set to make a re-appearance.

And it could prove more troublesome than first time around.

Signature Pubs Ltd has lodged an appeal with the Scottish Government on the grounds of non-determination of its application to create a beer garden with a retractable roof at the West Port Hotel in South Street.

But Fife Council planners say there are too many unanswered questions about the potential impact in terms of noise and odour.

They say the applicant has not given enough information and that the Reporter should dismiss the appeal.

At Wednesday’s meeting of north east Fife planning committee, councillors unanimously agreed to recommend that the appeal is dismissed.

The proposed beer garden would be made up of timber cabins with wooden bench seats and have a retractable roof similar to the previous ‘pergola’. But it would be sited on the opposite side from the previous structure.

The previous ‘pergola’ towered over the garden of the 300-year-old house next door and the proposed new one would be even closer to residential properties.

Planning manager Alastair Hamilton told the committee that the structure would be very close to flats in West Port Court and other properties to the east.

The council’s own environmental health service had lodged an objection, along with St Andrews Community Council and 11 others.

The saga of the ‘pergola that wasn’t’ began in 2012 when a planning application was first lodged.

Instead of an arched frame covered in roses, what appeared was a 54-foot long structure and Fife Council planners were criticised by the local authority Ombudsman for their handling of the case.

Planning permission had been granted through delegated powers without taking cognisance of an objection by St Andrews Preservation Trust, and officials had failed to change the applicant’s use of the word ‘pergola’ to describe massive beer garden.

Three years later, the owners of the West Port were issued with a discontinuance order and the ‘pergola’ was demolished.

The West Port Hotel is situated in a conservation area and at Wednesday’s meeting councillors also refused an application for listed building consent.

They have also recommended that the Reporter dismiss an appeal regarding change of use of garden ground.