Developer fails in appeal to build flats next to listed St Andrews building

Six new flats proposed for St Andrews have been refused on appeal because they would "damage" the surrounding conservation area.

Tuesday, 6th July 2021, 12:29 pm

The Scottish Government planning appeals division said Eastacre Development's proposal to build the block on Doubledykes Road would "imbalance" the neighbouring Kinburn Castle - a C-listed building, and the wider area.

Reporter Stuart West, tasked with handling the St Andrews firm's appeal, concluded that there was not enough evidence to justify approving the apartments without damaging the "particularly characterful" local area.

"The proposed development would neither preserve nor enhance the special character and appearance of the conservation area," he wrote in a report issued on Friday.

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The proposed development in St Andrews
The proposed development in St Andrews

Eastacre had sought to build the block between Kinburn Castle - historically a hotel, now used as offices - and another set of flats, and to build car parking to the rear. The works would have seen much of the building's historical boundary wall and garden area eradicated.

Taking all of this into consideration, Mr West ruled that the impact on the 19th century structure and its surroundings would be too great to justify granting planning permission for the flats.

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"I find that proposed removal of a section of the boundary wall, and the associated reduction in the height of the adjacent section, would have an adverse impact on both the architectural character of the listed building and its setting," he wrote.

The developers, based within the town itself, had characterised Fife Council's original refusal of their plans as "irrational" and the reasons for doing so "marginal".

They redesigned the building to satisfy planners' demands, even seeking to emulate the look of the adjacent older buildings so it would blend in.

While Mr West acknowledged the efforts the firm had gone to he concluded that the building was not suitable for the location Eastacre had in mind.

He concluded: "I find that the proposed development does not effectively integrate with the setting of Kinburn Castle or the special character of the conservation area.

"I do not agree that the negative impacts...are outweighed by the improved vehicular visibility, the design quality, or the fact that the general principle of residential accommodation is supported within settlements as attested by the appellant."

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