War of words over support for St Andrews care home

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The planning process in Fife is being ‘distorted’, after hundreds of letters backing plans to create a new care home in St Andrews were submitted.

That is the opinion of the chair of St Andrews Community Council’s planning committee, Penny Uprichard, who has called for the letters to be ‘disregarded’ when the plans for the care home at 92 Hepburn Gardens go in front of councillors for approval.

The developers held a six-week consultation period, as well as informing neighbours and canvassing opinion of the project. Following this, 429 support letters were submitted to Fife Council in the space of a week.

Ms Uprichard said some of the letters have come from people living across Fife, as well as Dundee and Edinburgh. She also claims that few of the letters comment on planning grounds.

“Most of the support letters are not valid, because they are not based on planning grounds,” Ms Uprichard said.

“Many say that they support the intention to move Gibson House residents to the proposed new home at 92 Hepburn Gardens. This is not a planning argument.

“This is a distortion of the planning process. The letters should be disregarded by the North East Planning Committee when the application comes to committee.”

The conversion of 92 Hepburn Gardens would create a 38-bed care home for the Gibson Trust, allowing them to move out of Gibson House.

Charlie Ferrari of CAF Properties, said: “We were delighted to receive a total of 441 letters of support. The majority of this support has come from those living in St Andrews which is pleasing.

“However, I am sadly not surprised that none of the objectors chose to attend any of the presentation days we ran. This shows a lack of interest in the needs of the residents of the Gibson Trust and the wider benefits of our project for St Andrews. We will continue to engage with the wider community in St Andrew’s who have demonstrated through their support that our care home proposal is acceptable and beneficial.”