Proposals for a £7 million development of a 65-bedroom hotel and a major retail food store in St Andrews - by two of the United Kingdom’s business giants - have been unveiled.
Ashleigh (St Andrews) Limited, sister company of leading construction firm Ashleigh Scotland, has announced plans for a Premier Inn and a new quality food store - rumoured to be for Marks and Spencer and its Simply Food brand - at a site in Largo Road, which is at present occupied as an abattoir and operated by a local company. It is envisaged that the buildings will be demolished and the site completely redeveloped.
The store - providing just under 1000 square metres of retail floor space - will primarily concentrate on food and, in a first for the United Kingdom, the Premier Inn will feature a bespoke and secure golf club store as part of the hotel development.
Premier Inn, which is owned by Whitbread, is the UK’s largest hotel brand with over 600 hotels and, like M&S, operate around the world.
The proposals do not require pre-application consultation, but the developers are keen to hear the views of local people and organisations and are embarking on a pre-planning application consultation exercise, including meeting with St Andrews Community Council, holding public exhibitions and organising a letter drop across the town.
Ashleigh (St Andrews) Ltd managing director, Alex Steel, told the Citizen: ”We very much look forward to engaging with the people of St Andrews and its key local organisations and welcome their feedback.
“We are sure that a prestigious food retailer will be welcomed in the town in this location. The Premier Inn will offer very good accommodation to the ever-increasing numbers of golf, business and tourist visitors to the town.”
“We know that there is a lot of interest in this project and we want to fully engage with the community, including residents and the community council, and for them to know that we are ready and willing to discuss our proposals. In all our developments, it is vital that local public consultation takes place and we welcome feedback and, hopefully, support from the public as a new firm to the East Coast of Scotland.”
Jed Hainey, of Ryden, the firm preparing the planning application, added: ”The current occupier has confirmed that they will be closing and the existing buildings are now obsolete and are not suitable for conversion. The only realistic option is to demolish the existing buildings and redevelop the site.
“The present industrial use is incompatible with the adjacent houses and other commercial uses which have been built around the site. Redevelopment for retail and hotel purposes would significantly improve the environment by, firstly, removing an unattractive industrial building and incompatible use. Secondly, the proposal will provide more jobs for St Andrews, a quality, design-led development and improved retail choice whilst supporting tourism.”
Kevin Murray, senior acquisition manager for Whitbread Hotels and Restaurants, added: ”Premier Inn is expanding aggressively across the country as we respond to strong customer demand for our high-quality affordable product and search out new exciting locations for our customers. Our proposed development in Largo Road is exactly where we want to be, close to the town centre and with convenient road access.
“The 65-bedroom hotel we propose will help attract visitors to stay in the town, boost the local economy, as well as creating 30 new jobs. This is good news for local businesses in St Andrews and I look forward to further positive discussions with Fife Council on our plans and investing in the town in the near future.”
The multi-million pound project will bring approximately 80 full and part-time jobs to the area. Local jobs will also be created during the construction phase through employment of local sub-contractors and employment agencies, while Ashleigh (St Andrews) Ltd will also try and secure new positions for those employed at the abattoir following its closure.
Meanwhile, the plans can be inspected at a manned exhibition to be held in the St Andrews public library, Church Square, on Tuesday between 2 and 6.45pm and also on Saturday, June 30, between 10am and 4.45pm. Further details, including a comment form, can be found at www.largoroadstandrews.co.uk or obtained from Ged Hainey, Ryden, 130 St Vincent Street, Glasgow G2 5HF, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written comments can be made via the web page or directly to Ryden at the above address by letter or by email. All comments must be submitted, at the latest, by July 30.