Town Commission to examine housing need in St Andrews

FIFE 2011. St Andrews. St Andrews Castle.
FIFE 2011. St Andrews. St Andrews Castle.

A new initiative designed to examine the housing situation in St Andrews has been set up by several organisations in the town.

The Town Commission, which will be independent of the sponsoring bodies, is now in an advanced stage of organisation.

The group includes St Andrews Community Council, the university, a local residents’ association, the conservation pressure group, Preservation Trust and the Students’ Association, as well as local Fife councillors.

Recognising the unmet demands on accommodation in the town, said to be the most pressured area in Fife, the Commission will hear evidence from groups, organisations and individuals with experience of housing needs.

A spokesman told the Citizen that it will then assess the issues raised and make recommendations for future action to the appropriate agencies.

An independent chair has been appointed to the body and he will be assisted by assessors in examining the evidence and issues presented to the Commission.

It is expected that all the evidence sessions will be held in public.

Over recent years, there has been considerable local concern about the very restricted supply of accommodation in the town.

General house building has been affected by the economic situation and no new social housing has been developed for at least a decade in St Andrews, while right-to-buy has resulted in a reduction in existing stock.

St Andrews is also one of the most expensive places in Scotland to live while, for families, the town has been designated as an area of housing pressure.

Meanwhile, the search is now on for a secretary to the Commission who will organise its business and provide the administrative framework to assist the chair and assessors in carrying out their work.

The Commission plans to start work in September and complete its remit by the spring of next year.

The role of secretary is time-limited, therefore, and will be subject to an honorarium.

Graham Wynd, who chairs the steering group, has invited anyone who feels they could make a contribution to the work of the Commission as secretary to contact him.

He can be reached at the headquarters of St Andrews Preservation Trust, 4 Queen’s Gardens, St Andrews, KY16 9TA , or by telephoning 01334 477152 to arrange an informal discussion about the role of the Commission secretary.