Green light for lab plan

An artist's impression of the new marine lab
An artist's impression of the new marine lab
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A Victorian building in St Andrews that once housed typhus patients is to be razed to make way for a cutting-edge marine laboratory.

The University of St Andrews has been successful in its bid to redevelop the Gatty Laboratory and Aquaria, which overlooks East Sands.

Councillors at north east Fife planning committee on Wednesday were shown artists’ impressions of the proposed futuristic building that will replace the existing Gatty Laboratory.

Built as a hospital in the 1870s, the unlisted building is now considered unfit for purpose.

The new facility will have a rusted steel façade while the roof will be lined with a material made from recycled rice husks.

Office staff will enjoy uninterrupted views over the sands.

The plan has not been without its critics, with objections lodged by St Andrews Community Council, St Andrews Preservation Trust and others.

They were concerned that the plans would represent a ‘piecemeal’ development that would be incompatible with the East Sands Design Framework.

But planning official Martin Patrick said that Fife Council had worked with the University to address the concerns and that the building would be a ‘contemporary landmark’ that would enhance its coastal setting.

He said that the high quality of design, architecture and materials had been commended by urban design officers and that the proposal exceeded the aspirations of the East Sands blueprint. He said the university had provided ‘thorough and comprehensive evidence’ that it should be knocked down.

Councillor Frances Melville, chairman, expressed reservations that there would not be enough parking facilities, but did not move refusal.