An application to build new luxury homes in St Andrews has been submitted to Fife Council by architects Sutherland Hussey after the Edinburgh-based company won a competition to design the residences.
The plans for new high-end residences follow warnings from councillors Marysia Denyer and Brian Thompson that St Andrews is in desperate need of more affordable accommodation.
Denyer recently described the town as an “elephant’s graveyard”. No affordable housing has been built in St Andrews since 2006.
However, construction of low-cost housing is not currently envisaged, with high-priced residences also planned for the old site of St Andrew’s Memorial Hospital, New Park and Hamilton Hall.
The residences designed by Sutherland Hussey will be situated adjacent to the School of Psychology and Bute Medical building, on West Burn lane. The plans are for 14 homes consisting of six townhouses, four maisonettes and four apartments, built around a series of public and private courtyards. It is hoped that the project will be completed by August 2014.
Speaking about the need for more affordable housing in St Andrews, Labour councillor, Brian Thompson, said: “The only way of really tackling the affordable housing issue in St Andrews, in my opinion, is to build new affordable housing – both for rent and low cost home ownership – and new affordable student accommodation.
He said that Fife Councils needs to “actively enforce its affordable housing policy — 30% of any sites of 20 units or above to be affordable —and tighten up loopholes in the current policy.”
Eastacre Investments chose Sutherland Hussey because of its planned to “create a distinctive environment, which whilst contemporary is in keeping with the wider area quality”. The architects beat off competition from Reiach and Hall, Cre8 Architecture and Nicoll Russell Studios to design the project.
Speaking about the need for more affordable housing in St Andrews, Thompson said: “St Andrews has specific problems relating to affordable housing, particularly in relation to the availability of land. One of the main hurdles to developing affordable housing in St Andrews is that many developers have bought up, or secured options, on both brownfield and greenfield sites in St Andrews, at values which makes it uneconomical to develop affordable housing.
“Many people who grow up in St Andrews, often find that they have to move out of the town to find affordable accommodation, and the town is not providing the type of housing required to sustain a vibrant and sustainable community.”
One possible solution, according to Thompson, would be to build “new private retirement flats, which can sell for high-end prices, are currently exempt from making an affordable housing contribution. In addition, any Council-owned land that becomes surplus should be considered for affordable housing as a first option.”