A luxury lodge development under construction near St Andrews could add a retirement village to its portfolio under new plans submitted to Fife Council.
Gleneagles Holiday Park Ltd received permission to construct 82 holiday homes at Northbank Farm at Lathockar in summer 2018.
However, the firm says that it has been inundated with requests from people who wanted to move into the lodges permanently – something forbidden by planning conditions.
Through a sister company, Stewarts Leisure Parks Ltd, it has proposed building 49 one and two-bed retirement caravans south-west of the approved lodges to meet this demand.
In a statement included with its application, Stewarts claims the retirement village will bolster the benefits the holiday park will bring to the local area, providing the already approved amenities with regular clientele.
A restaurant/bar, cafe, convenience store, farm shop, leisure facility and beautician service are among the services already permitted.
“As well as support provided through the direct income stream, the retirement village has a crucial role to play in providing all year round support during off-peak periods for the shared facilities…which are currently under development in association with the existing holiday lodge business,” the company said.
The proposals have precedent on their side. The Northbank holiday park was approved in June 2018 with conditions attached to satisfy local concerns over traffic on the nearby A915 St Andrews to Kirkcaldy road and environmental fears raised by Sepa.
Stewarts says that any effects of the expansion of the campus will be offset by a net benefit to the local economy and a met need for retirement homes in the local area – and that its plans are “directly consistent” with Fife’s own development agenda.
At 49 homes and 1.9 hectares in size, the development is not considered a “major development” that must be decided upon by a committee of elected councillors.
Sites with 50 or more homes or more than two hectares in size must go to a committee.
It is therefore likely the plans will be considered by Fife Council officers under delegated powers, unless any objections are lodged by statutory consultees such as Sepa or relevant community councils.
If this does not occur, a decision is expected sometime in the next two months.
By local democracy reporter Jon Brady