Nursery appeal fails on access grounds

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AN appeal against a decision by councillors to turn down plans for a nursery school in the St Andrews conservation area has been rejected.

Local resident Michael Tobert had appealed against refusal by the north east Fife area committee of his application for the nursery, associated landscaping and formation of a new opening in a boundary wall at 44 South Street.

Iain Urquhart, a Reporter appointed by the Scottish Ministers, said the determining issues were the effect of the proposal on the character and appearance of the town’s conservation area, the impact on road safety and amenity of occupiers of neighbouring properties.

He noted the planned single-storey nursery school would be located at the end of the long and narrow garden in part of the conservation area characterised by relatively well preserved linear garden riggs, dating from the town’s origins as a mediaeval burgh.

He considered the building, set within a single rigg, would not prejudice or adversely alter the prevailing character of this part of the conservation area.

The Reporter added that he did not share the council’s concerns regarding the detrimental impact of noise on the amenity of the occupiers of neighbouring houses that would arise from the nursery.

However, in his findings, he voiced concern about the access and servicing arrangements for the building and noted the community council, St Andrews Preservation Trust and local residents had made representations on that matter.

He highlighted the parking restrictions in the area and noted the very limited number of on-street parking spaces.

Mr Urquhart said: ”I think it likely that a significant number of young children attending the nursery would arrive by car.

“I consider that the restricted parking and drop-off/pick-up arrangements would lead to road and pedestrian safety problems in the vicinity of Abbey Court.

“I believe that it would be inevitable that vehicles going to and from the nursery would park in Abbey Court, Queen’s Terrace and Greenside Place and that this would cause localised congestion and, most importantly, it would prejudice road safety and the safety of users of the proposed nursery and houses around Abbey Court.

”I have taken account of all other matters, including support from users of the nursery, but none outweigh the road safety considerations and accordingly I refuse planning permission.”