Plans for new 681-bed student accommodation in St Andrews given green light

A new 681-bed student accommodation complex for St Andrews has been given the green light by local councillors.

Wednesday, 13th January 2021, 4:27 pm

In a meeting wrought with technical difficulties that cut the public feed cut for 20 minutes, elected members agreed to permit the creation of new University of St Andrews flats at Albany Park by East Sands.

The new complex will replace the institution’s existing Albany Park flats and double the capacity.

Eight buildings will be constructed on the site, include a new facilities building for university staff, the erection of a boat shed, a seasonal cafe and plant facilities, as well as a total of 108 parking spaces, around 77 of which will be for non-staff use. Nearly 400 cycle storage spaces are also planned.

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The North East Planning Committee heard that the university aims to let out 201 of the 681 rooms to tourists visiting the area outside of term time as an additional means of revenue generation.

However, the plans had been opposed by 38 objectors including the local community council.

Concerns included the density and height of the planned buildings, which will be as much as three-and-a-half storeys tall, and added stress on the road network.

Development management service manager Alastair Hamilton told the meeting that officers had concluded that the net benefit of the proposal outweighed any potential negative impacts.

He said: “Those in support say it would take pressure off of local housing stock and make use of under-utilised space away from the town centre, and offer employment opportunities.

“There have been concerns expressed about the scale and density. They’ve been covered within the report.  The existing buildings were nothing special and quite ugly, and would be replaced with something much more contemporary.”

Councillors accepted Mr Hamilton’s recommendation to approve the proposals with 26 conditions attached to control the construction of the complex, noise limits and the number of rooms occupied outside of term time.

Howe of Fife and Tay Coast councillor David MacDiarmid said: “I fully welcome this. A lot has gone into making this work.”

St Andrews University has also agreed to fund a £5000 feasibility study to assess the creation of future cycle routes in the area.

Derek Watson, University of St Andrews quaestor and factor, said: “This is great news for the university, our students and the community.

“The development is central to the iniversity’s strategy to provide more student accommodation for our students and ease the pressure on the housing stock in St Andrews.

“The new Albany Park will provide new student accommodation of the highest quality in an attractive landscaped environment and has the potential to revitalise the eastern area of St Andrews.”