St Andrew’s Queen’s Gardens wall row rumbles on ... and on

Queens Gardens, St Andrews, planning dispute over access to gardens
Queens Gardens, St Andrews, planning dispute over access to gardens

A long running St Andrews planning saga has taken another twist as the Scottish Government’s planning appeals body said it had no role in dealing with the issue.

Fife Council appears to have refused permission for changes to a listed building – without the building actually being listed.

David Adie, of 8 Queen’s Gardens in the town has been trying to make a new gate in the wall to the gardens at Southgait Close, applying for listed building planning permission.

But campaigners have opposed the attempt, claiming the wall dates back to medieval times and has never before been breached remaining intact since the 19th century and last year Fife Council refused permission for the gate with planners describing the proposal as “inappropriate” and “having a detrimental visual effect”.

Mr Adie appealed to the Scottish Government’s Planning and Environmental Appeals Division (DPEA) and this month the reporter said: “I find that the Scottish Ministers have no jurisdiction to determine the listed building consent appeal, because the wall in respect of which the application was made is not listed.”

Reporter Robert Seaton enlarged: “I find that the garden to the west of Queen’s Gardens, although historically forming part of a single unit of ownership with 8 Queen’s Gardens until the recent sale, does not form part of the curtilage of 8 Queen’s Gardens, given its physical separation and its separate enclosure. The evidence shows that the physical layout was essentially the same at the time of listing of 8 Queen’s Gardens. It follows that the private garden and its western boundary wall were not within the curtilage at the time of the house’s listing, and that the wall is therefore not listed.”

Fife Council explained that an application for listed building consent had been sought because the council believed that the wall would have been listed with the houses in Queen’s Gardens.

Now Stuart Wilson, Service Manager - Transportation, Enforcement & Minor Development, said: “The appeal decision means that we will be happy to look at a new application which we’ll consider on its merits.”

Queen’s Gardens resident Julie Poole took a different view, however.

“We believe the reporter’s decision means that Mr Adie has lost his case.

“If, however, he goes ahead and follows Fife Council’s interpretation of the decision, we will continue to oppose the plan to breach the wall to create a new gate into the garden.

“Such a change would bring an end to centuries of history. Queen’s Gardens and Greyfriars Gardens are the lungs of St Andrews and subdivision encourages development.”

Ms Poole added: “The applicant already has two large garden sheds on his patch.

“Breaching old walls may lead to more ‘domestic outbuildings’ as they call the applicant’s summerhouses,” she added.