St Andrews students voice concerns over plans for accommodation

The proposed development at Abbey Park.
The proposed development at Abbey Park.

Students in St Andrews have voiced concerns over plans to build student accommodation at Abbey Park.

The Students’ Representative Council (SRC) has said Robertson’s proposal to build a 100-bed student accommodation will “not meet the need for purpose built student accommodation” in the town.

It has also voiced its concern about the choice of site.

“There is no shortage of high-end student beds in St Andrews, while there is a shortage of low-cost student beds,” said Paloma Paige, Student Association president.

“Looking forward, we also want reassurance that the development will provide students with a secure living environment which is also conducive to good relations with the neighbouring residents. As it stands, we are still unconvinced this is an appropriate site for such an environment.”

The Abbey Park Residents’ Action Group has also voiced fresh concerns about the plans, which it has opposed since they were announced.

Robertson held information events for the student population, at which they were able to give their feedback and fill in forms to back the application.

Around 165 near-identical support comments were then submitted to Fife Council, with the signatures, names and addresses the only part different.

Group member Sandra Stewart said that she had “no objections” to students making comments in support of the application, but criticised the way it had been done.

She said. “There may be some weighting given to the numbers.”

She argued that a petition signed by more than 300 people, registered as one objection, should be counted as individual objections, if 165 near-identical support comments would be counted individually.

Chris Smith, lead officer at Fife Council, said “numerical balance of support or otherwise is immaterial” in terms of planning. He added: “Materially important considerations are not based on the number of representations made but on the issues they raise.”

Katherine Mackintosh, managing director, Robertson Property, said: “Robertson is committed to engaging with the community and given that the proposed development includes student accommodation we recently held information events for the student population. During these events, attendees were able to give their feedback.”