St Andrews Forest Lodges Limited has failed to secure consent from FIfe Council to create 18 new luxury holiday lodges just outside the hamlet of Kincaple.
There are currently 17 four-star plus lodges on the site, but farmland to the north-east of the existing provision had been earmarked for the additional lodges, a reception and manager’s accommodation, and a biomass heating plant.
However, councillors on the north east FIfe planning committee voted 8-4 to reject the application on Wednesday afternoon.
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Sixty objections to the plans had been received by the local authority, including a representation from Strathkinness Community Council, citing concerns ranging from the loss of arable land and the impact on the environment to noise and drainage issues.
St Andrews Lib Dem councillor Jane-Ann Liston moved refusal on a number of grounds, suggesting the development’s scale and density was out of character with the area, would have an impact on the environment and infrastructure, and posed road safety issues.
The SNP’s David MacDiarmid and Ann Verner raised concerns about the loss of trees and road safety respectively, while Conservative councillor Andy Heer said the development would “overwhelm” the existing settlement of KIncaple.
“It seems to me there are going to be more homes here than houses in the actual village,” he noted, adding his fears that waste water systems would be unable to cope.
An amendment backing the application, lodged by Lib Dem councillor Bill Porteous and seconded by Conservative councillor Tony Miklinski, was ultimately voted down.
St Andrews Forest Lodges had said local producers and builders would be employed during the construction stages, while the extension would also create two full-time and two part-time jobs.
Ryan Day, property and portfolio manager at Hoseasons, which would have helped to market the accommodation, described the domestic lodge sector as “extremely buoyant” at present, and argued there is a huge demand in the St Andrews area.
“The traditional season of Easter to the end of October is rapidly becoming a thing of the past and it is evident that more quality accommodation is coming into the market suitable for all-year round breaks and in particular a huge increase in ‘holiday snacking’ of two, three and four-night breaks,” he explained.
“This provides a superb boost for local tourism as visitors are now taking holidays at times of the year traditionally not as popular as the main summer holiday school weeks.
“An important feature of a lodge holiday is the ability to make it ‘weatherproof’, given that the UK can at times be blighted by poor weather conditions, and to have an ‘identity’ - a concept which acts as a unique selling point in a competitive market.
“The power of hot tubs to extend the season is an established fact and being able to combine the key features of a lodge break with the quality of accommodation available at St Andrews Forest Lodges, along with the enviable position of the accommodation, combine to make the development a very attractive proposition.”