The ST Andrews Environmental Protection Association Limited

The Association has been set up with the aim of protecting the environment of St Andrews and North East Fife.


STEPAL response to Planning Applications:15/02681/OBL and 15/02648/OBL

Response to application to vary the terms of the existing
Section 75 Agreements over the Feddinch site.

Dear Sirs

We refer to the two applications above, both of which relate to the same site. These applications are substantially the same. Namely, to vary the terms of the existing Section 75 Agreements over the site at Feddinch. Accordingly, the objections set out below apply equally to each application;

Grounds for Modification

The justification for the modification of the planning conditions set out in the applications and supporting statements are vague and lacking in specification. Although reference is made to planning policies there is nothing in the policies referred to which justifies the variations sought.

Planning circular 3/2012 (“the Circular”) set out the policy grounds to be considered when planning obligations under section 75 of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997 (as amended) are to be imposed. Planning obligations are only to be used when they meet all of the following tests:


necessary to make the proposed development acceptable in planning terms;
- serve a planning purpose and, where it is possible to identify infrastructure provision requirements in advance, should relate to development plans;
- relate to the proposed development (either as a direct consequence of the development or arising from the cumulative impact of development in the area);
- fairly and reasonably relate in scale and kind to the proposed development; and
- be reasonable in all other respects

If we apply these tests to the present situation it is impossible to sustain the view that any variation can be justified.

Paragraph 16 of the Circular discusses the Planning Purpose test and provides, inter alia, that:

“Planning authorities should satisfy themselves that an obligation is related to the use and development of the land”

The grounds for the proposed variation concern the possibility of spoil being available at the nearby Pipeland site. However, we are concerned with the planning obligations over the Feddinch site, not what is occurring at Pipeland.

Paragraph 18 of the Circular deals with the relationship to proposed development test and provides, inter alia, that:

“Planning obligations should not be used to extract advantages, benefits or payments from landowners or developers which are not directly related to the proposed development”

The problems arising as a result of the need to remove spoil from Pipeland, should the Council’s plans to develop that site go ahead, is not a valid reason to vary the Feddinch Planning obligations in the manner proposed. While it may be convenient for the applicants and the owners of the Pipeland site so remove spoil to Feddinch, this does not alter or diminish the problems which the limit imposed upon HGV movements seeks to mitigate.

Paragraph 21 of the Circular deals with the Scale and kind test and provides, inter alia, that:
“Planning obligations should not be used to resolve existing deficiencies in infrastructure or to secure contributions to the achievement of wider planning objectives.

The disruption caused by development at Feddinch was considered by the Planning Authority when the obligations imposing the HGV limit were imposed. Nothing at Feddinch has changed in the interim period. The harm caused by excessive HGV movements’ remains.

In summary, modifying the planning obligations in the manner sought by the applicant cannot be justified.

St Andrews Community Hospital.

The Community Hospital lies adjacent to the Pipeland site from which the spoil will be taken. 200 daily HGV movements would have an adverse impact upon the patients of the hospital. The Community Hospital has a number of well documented access problems. Increasing the number of HGV movement at this location, even for a relatively short period of time, will only exacerbate those problems

Road Safety and Congestion

The road from the Community Hospital to Feddinch which the HGVs would use includes a section of the Largo Road. This road is the main point of access and egress form St Andrews to the south. The congestion problems on this road at peak times are well documented.

The St Andrew Scottish Fire and Rescue service station is located on Largo Road. The Scottish Ambulance Service St Andrews depot and the St Andrews Police Station are located on adjacent streets. 200 HGV’s using the road between Pipeland and Feddinch would severely impair the ability of these vital emergency services to respond within their respective target response time. This is particularly the case should the emergency incident occur south of St Andrews at a location accessed by the same stretch of road which the HGV’s travelling to Feddinch would use.

Can the Planning Obligation be implemented?

The applicant is seeking to modify the planning obligations over Feddinch because of the possibility that spoil originating from the Pipeland site may become available. The Pipeland PPiP application is still subject to an ongoing legal challenge. Even if that challenge fails there are still a number of outstanding conditions which require to be implemented before the development of the Pipeland Farm site can commence. Until the uncertainties surrounding the Pipeland PPiP any application to vary existing planning conditions because of what may occur at Pipeland Farm is premature and inappropriate.

Yours faithfully,

Mary R.C. Jack
Lindsay Matheson
Sandra Thomson

For St Andrews Environmental Protection Association Limited

St Andrews 26 August 2015


STEPAL response to Planning Application:16/00127/Full

Response to Planning Application 16/00127/Full for a Golf Club
and additional services at Feddinch Mains, St Andrews.

The St Andrews Environmental Protection Association, STEPAL, wishes to object to the above planning application for a golf course and its associated developments including hotel and retail facilities and a renewable energy plant. This development is contrary to the Local Development Plan, in that it is proposed within the 2012 designated Green Belt, in protected rural Countryside and on Prime Agricultural Land. While it might be justified as part of a golf course development in the Green Belt, the golf course does not exist and given the track record of the developers, is unlikely to be completed. While the permission was originally awarded prior to these designations, and approval was made with regard to a prospective Green Belt, it is clear from the lack of any significant progress to date that approval for a the 'renewal' of plans for such a large and unnecessary development in the now protected St Andrews environment should not be given.

The previous planning permission for the development in 2011 has expired. There ought, therefore, to be a completely new planning application made and, given the change in financial circumstances over the last 12 years and the lack of any kind of significant progress in the development over this time, it would be highly unlikely that planning permission would be given today. The site is a current eyesore and a devastated area with grave environmental and amenity impacts because of the inability of the developers to take forward their scheme.

A plan to take topsoil from the proposed Pipeland School development - not yet given the go-ahead to proceed - has been withdrawn due to considerable objections on environmental grounds. While the Feddinch development would have significant detrimental impact on the unique environmental setting of St Andrews, in addition Fife Council itself has an interest in this development, given that they are proposing the Pipeland School. This particular proposal could unfortunately re-emerge.

It is also questionable if such a development is required in the St Andrews area. There is already a great number of golf courses with related developments locally and while the area has benefitted hugely from golf tourism, the fact is that golf club membership is generally declining in Scotland. The spare capacity in other local golfing facilities bears this out In the meantime potentially productive agricultural land is subject to lengthy planning applications and taken out of production. There is no evidence that this development would succeed and could easily become a similar white elephant to the Gateway building which went into bankruptcy before it could be opened.

We trust the foregoing points will be given your careful and thorough consideration.

Yours sincerely,

Mary R.C. Jack
Lindsay Matheson
Sandra Thomson

For St Andrews Environmental Protection Association Limited

St Andrews
9 March 2016

Contact Details:

Association Chairman
Association Secretary
Association Treasurer


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