St Andrews’ £7m development plans go on public show

Proposals to develop a 65-bedroom hotel and retail food store in St Andrews will come under scrutiny tomorrow (Saturday) at a public exhibition.

As exclusively revealed in the Citizen last week, Ashleigh (St Andrews) Ltd, sister company of the leading construction firm Ashleigh Scotland, has announced plans to build a Premier Inn and also what is understood to be a Marks and Spencer Simply Food store on a site in Largo Road, at present occupied by an abattoir.

The plans were on display for one day earlier this week when there was “a good turnout” of interested people keen to learn about the project. A second showing will take place tomorrow at the local public library in Church Square when representatives behind the venture will again be on hand to answer questions.

Ged Hainey, of Ryden, the firm preparing the planning application, confirmed yesterday that a deal has been signed to sell the abattoir to his client, subject to obtaining outline planning consent.

However, until that time, the abattoir will remain open, a fact confirmed by George Jarron, chairman of the directors of the St Andrews Abattoir Company Ltd, and boss of Scott Brothers of Dundee.

He said: ”The abattoir has been the subject of many approaches to date regarding the sale of the site.

‘‘This company is the most recent of those to enquire and are clearly consulting the public view before proceeding with any purchase proposal or planning application.

“The St Andrews Abattoir Company Ltd. would like to make it clear that we will continue to operate as normal, and would assure all customers and employees that we do not envisage that changing in the near future.”

According to another director, the reduced throughput of the abattoir has fallen to such a level that it is becoming harder and harder to sustain a suitable service and maintain the property to an acceptable level.

He said: ”During the last few years, the meat industry - especially the processing sector - has gradually contracted. We now have only 13 customers.”

A director who has viewed the plans is known to be impressed with the proposed outcome and also the number of jobs it will create and has wished the development company every success.

If the £7 million development secures planning permission the buildings will be demolished and the site completely redeveloped.

The food store - providing just under 1000 square metres of retail floor space - will primarily concentrate on foodstuffs and, in a first for the United Kingdom, the Premier Inn will feature a bespoke and secure golf club store as part of the hotel development.

The multi-million pound project will bring approximately 80 full and part-time jobs to the area.

Local jobs will also be created during the construction phase through employment of local sub-contractors and employment agencies, while Ashleigh (St Andrews) Ltd will also try and secure new positions for those employed at the abattoir following its closure.

The plans can be inspected tomorrow between 10am and 4.45pm in the town library.