Company News & Blog

12th November 2014
Published by: The Courier

Plans to boost business

Plans to create accommodation in central St Andrews for small businesses and start–up companies will go before Fife Council today. 

The business centre project in the St Leonards area of the town is part of a wider site development being undertaken by Robertson Homes, which forms part of Robertson, the integrated infrastructure, supports services and construction group. 

The proposals show the existing St Leonards Lodge – originally a wartime home for city evacuees and most recently used as student accommodation – being transformed into Class 4 office space, offering 11 compact units available for rent. 

Phase two of the project would involve the construction of a two-storey pavilion, separated into four flexible areas ready for fit-out by occupiers, as well as the removal of a defunct garage building. 

The developers say the site would also benefit from adequate car parking spaces, in accordance with the technical specifications required by the planning department. 

At the heart of the project is a commitment to create a thriving business hub that will provide modern office space for small professional firms, IT firms and start-up companies in a picturesque setting. 

The applicant says it is thought that these new facilities would also encourage nearby university leavers to launch business start-ups, as well as to provide a base for established firms from further afield to open a satellite office in the town. 

The announcement follows the latest Duport Business Confidence Report for Dundee crediting the £1 billion waterfront project as the catalyst in bringing a record number of business to the city.  During the first quarter of 2014, 227 firms were founded in the area, outstripping any quarter in its history.

John Murphy, managing director at Robertson Homes, said: “We are excited to put forward these plans, which we believe will create an exciting opportunity for a range of businesses in St Andrews and the surrounding areas. 

“As well as encouraging new business into the area, this project will also employ local labour and use local materials and suppliers, wherever possible. 

“We have worked closely with the planning and transport departments at Fife Council, as well as specialist preservation architects, to create a quality development proposal that is not only befitting the existing town but also pays heed to its conservation area location.” 

Jim McArthur, partner at Hardies Property & Construction Consultants, who will be managing the site, added: “As a local firm based in St Andrews, we are delighted to be involved in this exciting project, which will bring some much-needed modern business space targeted at small firms and start-up companies to the town. 

“While there have been similar developments in other areas of Fife over the years, this will be the first time that true ‘incubator’ business space has been provided in St Andrews.  We believe that this project will encourage those in the town and its surrounding areas to take that first but very major step in obtaining business premises and, in the fullness of time, to help to create more jobs for the area.” 

The business centre is only one part of the redevelopment of the St Leonards area, with specialised housing for older people and an exclusive series of Georgian-style townhouses also planned. 

The application, which comes before today’s meeting of the Fife Council north-east planning committee, is being recommended for conditional approval by Fife Council planners.

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