Four historic market stances on Market Street are to face reviews from Fife Council amid concerns that the fees for their positions are too low.
Market Street is quite fittingly home to numerous stances that sell items ranging from second-hand books to arts-and-crafts products. The variety of merchandise results from a rule that stipulates the stances must not sell products similar to those on sale in shops within 50 metres.
These stances, together with the soon to be restored Whyte Melville Fountain, form a long-standing traditional image of St Andrews town centre.
St Andrews councilor Frances Melville revealed that the council would review ‘certain aspects of their operation’ and has invited the town community council to comment on the matter.
Part of the reason of the review was the fee (£10 per day) that the stances are charged. Relative to the rent paid by shops in the same location, and given the services such as servicing and refuse collection that the stances require, this is a very low amount.
According to Melville: “The stances are a long-standing tradition. It’s one of these traditions in the town that goes on and on and on. But the charges are very low and a review will be done.”
Melville also pointed out that there were problems with cars reversing into stances and double booking.
Since the stances are a traditional part of St Andrews, removing them would be a ‘controversial option’. Instead, some people, such as Community councilor Ken Crichton, have suggested increasing the number of stances, citing local complaints of a lack of affordable shops in town.
Fellow community councilor Marysia Denyer thinks otherwise. She noted that increasing the number of stances would exacerbate current traffic issues.
Patrick Marks, Secretary of the St Andrews Community Council, said that the plan was a Fife Council initiative, and claimed that the St Andrews Council “‘has no firm views on the matter as it’s so recent.”