Popular St Andrews aquarium plans new sea wall and more changes after storm damage
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Set in the cliffs overlooking St Andrews Bay, the aquarium was hard hit by Storm Babet last October. The storm surge filled the seal pools with seaweed - forcing the aquarium to close and “temporarily rehome” their seals while making the necessary repairs.
As part of the repair process, the business has submitted plans to Fife Council to build a new sea wall around the centre and improvements plans for visitors and animals alike.
“The damage caused by the storms has highlighted the requirement for a more robust solution to wave damage at the aquarium to protect the existing building and the external areas,” a planning statement said. “This application proposes a new, higher sea wall to the outer perimeter of the external area designed by structural engineers. This will provide protection from the increasing number of storms and sea surges that are occurring.
St Andrews Aquarium is an independent and family-owned aquarium located on The Scores. It has been dedicated to more than 120 animal species since opening in 1999.
“Planning papers said: “It forms a key part of the local economy providing year-round access to approximately 70,00 visitors per annum.”
There are three key parts to the aquarium’s planning proposals. It wants to upgrade outdoor seal pools and create an underwater viewing area for visitors and create a new sea wall to keep storms at bay.
“The proposed new sea wall will raise the height of the existing sea wall round the perimeter of the external areas,” a planning statement explained. “This will provide robust protection to the aquarium from future storms to help mitigate any damage to the buildings and structures.”
The aquarium also wants to upgrade its outdoor viewing platform and seating area while also creating a new presentation and exhibition space.
“The proposed alterations aim to improve the environment for its animals and provide a richer and more diverse visitor experience. It will also improve the sea defences at the facility, ensuring that the Aquarium can operate safely during future storms,” the planning statement continued.
Fife Council will consider the application in due course.