Supreme Court to hear St Andrews woman’s appeal

Penny Uprichard.
Penny Uprichard.

the UK Supreme Court is to hear an appeal against the Fife Structure Plan by a veteran St Andrews campaigner.

The court’s decision means that Penny Uprichard’s legal challenge to proposals for a minimum of 1000 houses, a business and science park and a distributor road in St Andrews can continue.

She told the Citizen this week that, in her opinion, previous Scottish court decisions had failed to understand the environmental impact on St Andrews, its national and international importance and the unprecedented number of objections.

Miss Uprichard said that the Structure Plan stated: ’The strategy is to realise the potential of St Andrews as an economic driver for the whole of Fife...and to reconcile this against the need to protect its internationally-important heritage.’

She explained: ”I believe the town will be overwhelmed by this development, initially proposed by the university and two developers in 2002.

BLOW

“The judges’ previous decision that I should pay costs of £173,000 was a huge blow and seems to contravene the Aarhus Convention, which says that access to environmental justice should be available, without prohibitive cost. The UK Government, a signatory to this Convention, is being taken to the European Court of Justice on this point.

“There were 2500 objections to the Structure Plan, including dozens of community councils, and 5000 objections to the St Andrews and East Fife Local Plan.

‘‘If 200 objectors were to contribute £25 each to the Challenge Fund, this would cover most of the costs of my Supreme Court application.

“My application includes a request for a Protective Costs Order, which would limit costs payable to other parties. However, without more financial help it is unlikely I would be able to take the case forward - despite the £33,000 I have already received from generous supporters, including the Association for the Protection of Rural Scotland and St Andrews Preservation Trust.

“I hope that others whose carefully written objections have been ignored will take this opportunity to contribute to the fight for St Andrews.”