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.

The Western Extension

Details on this proposal can be found at http://standrewswest.co.uk

STEPAL responses to the Western Extension proposals:


Response to Proposed Extension

STEPAL welcomes the intention of the Western Extension Consortium to fully engage with St Andrews townspeople in taking forward their proposals. It is difficult to comment at present on the limited information available. There is no doubt that significant environmental effects would be caused by any development of this size on a small historic town like St Andrews.

It is important that any development which is taken forward respects the unique character of St Andrews and carefully considers its impact on the road network, already under strain, and other infrastructure of the town.

Numerous landscape reports have emphasised the importance of views from the approaches to the town towards the historic core and the view from Strathkinness High Road to the town centre is an important asset which must be preserved. The layout and design of any development in the Langlands area will be particularly important in retaining the town's historic landscape setting.

Siting the replacement Madras College on the western approaches of St Andrews makes sense in terms of access for the majority of pupils, for reducing traffic in the town centre and for providing an opportunity for linkages between the school and university. A well designed building in this area will be well placed to meet the needs of pupils and the community and would be welcomed by STEPAL.

The proposal to develop the North Haugh area as an ‘ecopark’ with a landmark building is noted and this reflects the importance of this area both in environmental terms and as a gateway to St Andrews."

Mary Jack, Chairperson, STEPAL


St Andrews
27 February 2017

 

 


Comments on the Consultation

Thank you for the invitation to the St Andrews West Consultation. Our directors and many of our members and supporters attended at least one of your events, which were well organised and where most stake holders were present and willing to discuss the development.

STEPAL is very aware of the background to and planning issues of this major development. We await with interest more detail and timescales for the various stages. In particular, we are interested in the situation of the new Madras College within the infrastructural network, especially the road system, which is vital for this and for the many other functional areas to be developed. This will have a major impact on the town of St Andrews.

Most of the information and plans on view were already available from the current Local Plan and are to be included in the new FIFEplan. We look forward to seeing more detailed plans of the future internal layout of the area to be developed.

Yours sincerely,

Sandra Thomson, on behalf of STEPAL.

St Andrews
22 March 2017

 

 


St Andrews West Community Consultation 2 May 2017

Thank you for the invitation to the second consultation on the St Andrews Western Expansion and for the extension we received to the consultation period. STEPAL welcomes the opportunity to comment on the evolving masterplan for this development.

While the proposed internal layout of the urban functions – residential, educational, business and university/research – is in accord with the original proposals, and seems to be appropriate for the area, there are a few concerning issues regarding the proposed transport network.

  1. The proposed roundabout linking the A91 with the new development does not seem to us to be in the optimum place. If the roundabout were to be located a little further along the A91 to the NW at the junction of the A91 with old Station Road, traffic approaching the town could be distributed/siphoned off earlier and provide access at one node not only to the Western Expansion, but to locations to the north such as the Old Course Hotel and several golf courses, and would also slow traffic down along the North Haugh/Station Park section approaching Petherum to access the town. The access road to the Western Expansion will be of vital importance in the future when it will be used by thousands of people accessing homes, businesses and a large secondary and community school, to which access will be required up to 14 hours a day, often in the dark. The route of this road should therefore provide access for the needs of many different users far into the future as the development progresses. Such a route would also preclude the crossing of the proposed ‘eco-park’ of the North Haugh with clear environmental advantages. A straighter through route further north than that in the current proposal in your ‘Creating a Link Road’ diagram, cutting out the large bend south shown on your map would also be shorter and less costly, although obviously access roads would be needed to all development along the route. (see the footnote below)
     

  2. In an attempt to avoid a ‘rat run’, two staggered junctions are proposed at the junctions of the road through the Western Expansion, called in the past the ‘distributor’ road, with the High and Low Strathkinness Roads. It is suggested that an outer ring is in fact desirable in that it will take away significant traffic from the town centre which is already very congested and in which grid lock can be expected increasingly in the future. In addition and very importantly, staggered junctions are very dangerous. The roads along which the staggered junctions are proposed are extremely busy at peak times and traffic attempting to cross them could take chances with dangerous consequences. The former staggered junction at Petherum was replaced with a safer roundabout many years ago. Traffic in towns can be slowed by a great variety of methods – frequent roundabouts, speed bumps and simply by low speed limits – a 20mph limit is being proposed in many towns and even cities now.
     

  3. A significant crossing on the A91 is vital. The residential area of the Western Expansion will be very large and home to probably around 5000 people, all of whom will not wish to travel in and out of their locale by car. It is therefore important that there are opportunities to walk, cycle and use public transport. So far, it is not clear, for example, how the cycle path from the Guardbridge direction will link with the new development. A new ‘gateway bridge’ on the A91 could provide access for walking and cycling and nearby bus stops could serve those wishing to use public transport, including workers in the new university developments and parents and pupils of the new Madras College as well as the many residents. This would also provide important access to the golf courses and to the beach for recreation. Where will this crossing be?

St Andrews is a small town with huge numbers of students and visitors each year, as well as the current and future resident populations. Congestion will only increase and it is therefore important that the new transport network is designed to take all of the potential future transport issues into account and provide as many alternatives to car transport as possible to ensure a continuing attractive and safe environment for all.

STEPAL hopes that these comments will prove useful in the next stages of planning and we would be happy to have further discussion if such would prove helpful.

Yours sincerely,

Sandra Thomson on behalf of STEPAL

19 June 2017


Footnote:
A ground inspection confirms that the height of the escarpment at the NW end of the North Haugh site is little different to that of the proposed route through the middle of the site. Were there no other considerations to take into account it would be clear that the originally-proposed alignment of the distributor road along the NW edge of the North Haugh would be superior.
The advantages of the original road plans would seem to be:

  • the provision of a route with no major gradient differential along the western edge of the development

  • a route that could be continued to serve any further developments without necessarily taking all traffic through the initial development

  • a route that did not bisect the proposed North Haugh Eco-Park and render it effectively unusable.

The only other consideration that we understand has been in play in the current proposal is the existence of a badger sett on the escarpment. The first signs of tunnelling, however, are 70 yards from the western edge of the site. There would appear, therefore, to be potential for the coexistence of the badgers and a distributor road at the edge of the site.

It is our belief that the balancing environmental arguments in favour of the original “western solution” are strong and we urge the Consortium to reconsider this aspect of its proposals.
 

 


Response to the St Andrews West Third Consultation 28/9/17

After attending your third consultation and studying your revised proposals, STEPAL would like to make the following observations.

  • A first class network of foot and cycle paths to and within the development area must be a vital component of the plan. This network must provide facilities at all stages – from the beginning with the building of the new school to the later stages when hundreds of new homes will be built. Such a network is not yet apparent but is vital given the growing local and national demands for more sustainable transport and healthy living.
     

  • Integral to the development must be a safe and continuous crossing of the A91. A so-called Toucan Crossing is not the answer. A light-controlled at-level crossing would be unsafe – neither children nor adults would abide by the rules on foot or on cycle – and that combined with a new roundabout would produce queues of traffic and frustrated motorists and other road users. They would seek alternative ways of getting into town and might use the old road past the Old Course or indeed avoid the A91 and come via Strathkinness and narrow country roads not fit for further traffic increase. If the results of the last known traffic survey are being used, they are very much out-of-date given the growth of the town in the last 10 years. A bridge over the A91 is essential, and given the large area of Station Park available, it is more than feasible.
     

  • Access from the new school site to the new shop across the access road is not shown. The shop will be a magnet for many school children and they will swarm across the road in much the same way as they do at the Morrisons’ roundabout at present. Children cannot be kept on school premises at break or lunchtimes and there will be a consequent problem.
     

  • The Western Extension must be properly integrated into the town so that it forms a coherent part of the settlement. It therefore must be linked to the town by all transport methods. It is short-sighted to isolate the area or make it difficult for people – workers, school children, residents – to access or exit. A traffic plan for the whole of St Andrews must be envisaged so that there is a simple way of getting round the town, accessing other residential areas such as Bogward and the potential development at Craigtoun North (by a link to Melville Road) and major services such as the hospital. This would also relieve traffic congestion in the town centre where some if not all roundabouts are at capacity. There are many ways of precluding a so-called rat-run – please consider those rather than making the area isolated.

We hope that these observations will be taken into account in your future considerations.

Yours sincerely,

Sandra Thomson, secretary, STEPAL.

 

 


Comment on Planning Application 17/03467/FULL | Construction of link road and roundabout including associated infrastructure and landscaping from the A91 associated with St Andrews SDA and proposed secondary school At Land To West Andrew Melville Hall, North Haugh, St Andrews | Land To West Andrew Melville Hall North Haugh St Andrews Fife

STEPAL is pleased to be able to comment on the initial planning stages for the development of the Western Extension of St Andrews to allow in particular the beginning of the planning process for the new Madras College, the location of which is most suitable for the future school population.

It is clear that an access road is necessary to link the A91 to the Western Extension and STEPAL has responded to all three public consultations, in each case expressing some concerns as this road will not only provide initial necessary access to the school site but will also eventually link the whole development including places of work and a large residential zone with the town.

  • The proposed link as specified in the current planning application is adequate although there are issues with the actual route and indeed its point of access to the A91.

  • The proposed route across the North Haugh cuts the area in two, forming a barrier between each section, precluding any unified development on a most important site at the entry to St Andrews along the main access road from the west. The original proposal on the 2012 Development Plan for an access road along the western boundary of the North Haugh would have been non-intrusive, leaving the North Haugh for development as required and sparing most of the landscaped areas of the arboretum and pond.

  • The proposed route not only precludes the unified development of the North Haugh but also involves the removal of some mature trees of the arboretum. The area is, of course, not a designated protected environmental area and as such development can be allowed, especially if it mitigates against any loss and makes provision for wildlife, which it does, and SNH seems content with this scenario.

  • A further possibility – Plan B – a shorter route further east – between the main North Haugh area and the University buildings is deemed unsuitable for a variety of reasons but not only would this be shorter and therefore less expensive, it would also provide a more direct route from the site of the new school to Station Park, an area of playing fields which will still be required in the future by the school. Pupils may well find a way along such a route and this could prove a problem as crossing the A91 will be necessary. One only has to stand at the Morrisons/hospital roundabout on Largo Road to see swarms of school children running across the roundabout and scaling Morrisons’ wall!

  • The actual connection of the A91 to the Western Extension remains problematical. A roundabout for vehicular traffic is appropriate, although thought must be given to the status of the old route past the hotel – traffic will by-pass any obstruction if possible. However, an added Toucan crossing for pedestrians and cyclists is not the answer. This will not only cause horrendous tailbacks on such a busy road, it will also be dangerous. People, and especially children, will simply not wait for lights. An alternative must be found, not only for initial school traffic but also for the hundreds of residents and workers from the new development as it progresses, allowing not only access from the Guardbridge direction for walkers and cyclists, but also access from the new development to the golf courses, beaches, and other recreational parts of the town. A bridge for walkers and cyclists is vital.

  • Has a safety audit been carried out for the proposed roundabout and crossing? This is the major route into St Andrews carrying the most traffic. Interrupting the flow of constant traffic by a roundabout and a Toucan crossing will invite road users to find alternative means of accessing the town, especially at peak periods, and could lead to problems elsewhere.


    STEPAL is pleased that a location for the new Madras College has been chosen on the western side of the town near to the university, where such had been planned many years ago with very obvious advantages for the town, its children, the children of the north western catchment area and all other users. However, as the site is now part of a much larger proposed development, the Western Extension, access by road and by walkers and cyclists to this development is extremely important. We are not convinced that the current scheme is sufficiently robust for all future use, and we are especially concerned about the proposed crossing of the A91. We consider a bridge for walkers and cyclists to be essential and this would obviously have added advantages for visitors to the town as it continues to host world sporting events.


    Yours sincerely,

    Sandra Thomson, Secretary, STEPAL
     

     

 



Contact Details:
 

Association Chairman
 
chair@stepal.org
 
Association Secretary
 
secretary@stepal.org
 
Association Treasurer
 
funds@stepal.org
 

 

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