Plan to ‘shoehorn’ house in garden raises hackles

Vehicular access into Abbotsford Place is very tight.
Vehicular access into Abbotsford Place is very tight.

A proposal to build a residential property in the garden of a house in the heart of the St Andrews conservation area has run into stiff opposition.

The application, submitted to Fife Council planners by a local firm of chartered surveyors, centres on a garden site in Abbotsford Place in the town centre.

St Andrews Community Council and the pressure group, St Andrews Preservation Trust, has joined a growing list of objectors to the plan.

Chairman of the community organisation, Kyffin Roberts, said: ”The council objects to this planning application on the grounds of over-development. The overburden of public utilities and the loss of green areas created by developments in gardens and open space sites will have a detrimental effect on the town.”

In strongly opposing the application, a spokeswoman for the trust added: ”This clearly represents an over-development of the site. An acceptance of this application would also set a precedent for further similar unsuitable building in the few remaining gardens of central St Andrews.”

That view is backed by another opponent amid claims it is an attempt to “shoehorn” a new dwellinghouse in the garden space of an existing property.

He said: ”This is a prime residential area and an example of the best architectural practices from an age when properties were balanced with secluded green space for the pleasure of the residents and, as such, this should be preserved.


“The design is not in keeping with the original styles and can only detract from the other properties in respect of privacy and amenity.

‘‘The vehicular access has already been pushed to unacceptable levels which has created a bottleneck for access and egress to and from the site at the junction with North Street, leading to vehicles having to reverse out on to the main road on occasions.

“I suggest this application be refused as it is intense over-development of a residential area. Green areas in the town should be preserved.”

Other objectors claim that if given the green light, the development would have a detrimental impact on a secluded residential area and maintain that the site is already overdeveloped and crowded and lacking parking,

Said one: ”The house is not in keeping with a Victorian crescent. There is no space to fit another dwellinghouse into an already overdeveloped area and it would be a great shame to destroy one of the few private and secluded original areas left in St Andrews.”

Meanwhile, Fife Council’s transportation service has assessed the application and has recommended it be refused in the interest of road safety.

Officials have pointed out the existing unadopted private access already serves more than the local authority’s limit of four houses and view any further development in the area, particularly an increase in vehicle movements through the very narrow private lane, to be detrimental to road safety and the safety of pedestrians.