Top award for St Andrews ‘carbuncle’

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A controversial St Andrews housing development, described as a ‘carbuncle’ has won a prestigious architecture award.

The West Burn Lane development has been named as one of 12 representing “the very best of Scottish arhcitecture” by the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland.

Judges commented on Sutherland Hussey Harris’ design: “Following St Andrews’ historic ‘rigg’ pattern, this new develoopment is a graceful and intelligent insertion within one of Scotland’s finest historic urban environments.

“Careful in scale and utilising materials of the highest quality, this unobtrusive contemporary housing develoopment is set in a conservation area, embracing a series of public and private courtyards.”

But the development proved contentious – two planning bids for the site failed before the six houses, four maisonettes and four apartments got the go-ahead in 2013.

St Andrews Community Council and the town’s Preservation Trust objected strongly to the design, and remain convinced the development is not in keeping with the character of the town centre.

Howard Greenwell, community council chairman was outspoken: “The only award this should be shortlisted for is Carbuncle of the Year,” he said on hearing of the RIAS nomination, and commenting that architects seemed to be: “completely dismissive of, and ignorant of, conservation issues in the town.”

Graham Wynd, then chairman of the Preservation Trust, said that much of the development was acceptable, but he described the brickwork as “almost industrial” and complained that the development protruded too far out of the lane.