Guardbridge houses escape multiple occupancy

Councillor David MacDiarmid
Councillor David MacDiarmid

An application to make a Guardbridge house suitable for multiple occupancy has been rejected in what has been described as a “fantastic result”.

The application for an House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) licence for 24 River Terrace was put to the Regulation and Licensing Committee on November 10.

Prior to the vote, councillors had been invited to the site to give them a better understanding of the area.

Councillor David MacDiarmid, who has been fighting HMO licenses since he was elected in 2007 was delighted with the result. He said: “My concern is always for the communities and I fight strongest for the ones in estates where I believe there should be families living.

“River Terrace is a beautiful wee cul-de-sac that really should be for families.

“There are places that should be sacred from HMO’s and I consider Guardbridge one of them.”

Concerned about protecting areas he considers should be an HMO free zone, Cllr MacDiarmid is also worried that overspill from St Andrews University students looking for accommodation will impact on areas such as Guardbridge.

“This community should be for families because they’re family homes,” he said.

Despite there being private sector student accommodation available as well as University of St Andrews student halls with rents well below the levels charged in the private sector – including heating, power, web access, etc – students are choosing other options.

Niall Scott, director of communication at the university said: “The current level of vacancies in university accommodation and the private sector suggest that if we simply built more beds, they would remain empty.”