Community councillors have a dream for St Andrews’ future

Jessica Stevenson, Laurence Pemberton, Fernando Maluf, Austen Schurig display the bright shields that will be used in the Kate Kennedy 90th anniversary procession
Jessica Stevenson, Laurence Pemberton, Fernando Maluf, Austen Schurig display the bright shields that will be used in the Kate Kennedy 90th anniversary procession

St Andrews community councillors Harry Stewart and Henry Paul are men with a vision for the future of the town they love.

This week they spoke to the Citizen about their concerns for the town and what they would like to see happen in St Andrews. This is what they had to say.

Henry Paul accused Fife Council of pillaging the town’s Common Good Fund to pay for new toilet facilities at West Sands at the community council meeting, and this is why: “Fife Council is starting to use the Common Good Fund as a stop-gap when it can’t be bothered to sort out its finances. It is just too easy to go to the fund, and that is not necessarily what the Common Good Fund was set up for.

“‘Just go to the Common Good Fund’ seemed like a really easy answer – we will find the fund is just being used to prop up Fife Council

“Every time I drive down the West Sands I see the buildings and the Old Course and it is fantastic, then I look at the area that Fife Council is responsible for, and it is appalling – buildings are falling down and the toilets should have been condemned years ago. Fife benefitted economically to the tune of £52 million from the Open – yet at the same time Fife Council has removed a children’s play park, and is having to take action over the toilet blocks there which should be condemned – all at the West Sands, right next to where the Open was contested.”

He also queried the use the Open Legacy Fund had been put to.

“A couple of months ago I became aware of the Legacy Project which brought money to St Andrews from the Open. It has been used to strengthen the sand dunes – but where is the legacy for the people of St Andrews?

Harry Stewart pursued the argument: “There are demands on the community council and Fife Council, and there are limited amounts of money available – but paying £80,000 for new toilet facilities does seem wrong when we turned down the opportunity of a visitor centre, which was a £1.5million investment, last year.”

Admitting that the community council had objected to plans for the centre he continued: “The only reason we objected was the design - not the centre. We want to see a visitor centre at West Sands.”

And he predicted: “If that was put to the community council again now, in whatever format, it would be passed.”

Continuing on the theme of the West Sands, Harry continued: “Now management of the area has passed back to the Links Trust which has denied it has plans to put up a barrier to force visitors to pay for parking. ‘‘But I would like to see a barrier – one that restricts the height of vehicles accessing the area to prevent camper vans staying overnight.

Both men, like all community council members they say, want the best for St Andrews. Their wish lists for the town share the common desire to see a new school up and running as soon as possible.

And they share a desire to see more housing. Henry said: “There is a lack of accommodation for young families to live in town,” and he called on the university to provide even more student accommodation than the 900 new beds announced last week.

Harry backed that up wanting to see: “More affordable accommodation for locals.”

In last week’s issue of The Citizen we confused quotes from Harry and Henry, for which we apologise.