St Andrews Old Course bridge paving dug up after backlash

St Andrews Old Course bridge paving dug up after backlash

St Andrews Old Course bridge paving dug up after backlash

Renovation work around a historic bridge on St Andrews’ Old Course has been removed following heavy criticism.

Thousands flock to the Swilcan Bridge every year for arguably the most famous photo opportunity in golf.

St Andrews Links Trust said a new round paved area was designed to prevent the approach area falling into disrepair.

But the trust announced it would be dug up and replaced with turf after the paving was widely condemned on social media.

A trust statement said: “We believe we are unable to create a look which is in keeping with its iconic setting and have taken the decision to remove it.”

The move came after Fife Council confirmed it was investigating whether the trust should have applied for retrospective planning permission or listed building consents.

Commentator Ken Brown was among the critics of the paving – he tweeted: “The Swilcan Bridge now serving food. A table for Fore please.”

Golf fan Warren Allsworth reacted: “No. Just no. That’s like drawing a moustache on the Mona Lisa.”

And US-based Tron Carter said it resembled a “DIY backyard patio”.

Meanwhile, six-time major winner Sir Nick Faldo posed the question: “If you’ve travelled halfway around the world for your bucket list round at St Andrews, would you rather leave with a bit of historic dirt on your shoes or a few cement mix scraps?”

Others mocked up the paving featuring everything from garden furniture to a hot tub.

Legends of the game traditionally use the walk over the bridge, after teeing off on the 18th hole, to bid farewell to the Open Championship, which is played at the Old Course every five years.

Those who have made the emotional walk up the final fairway include the late Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson.

Tiger Woods famously failed to pause on the bridge during last summer’s Open in a sign he still hopes to compete at the Home of Golf before he retires.

On Sundays, when no golf is allowed on the hallowed course, queues of locals and visitors form at the bridge to pose for a picture with the landmark Royal & Ancient clubhouse in the background.

The St Andrews Links Trust, which manages the course, issued a statement on Sunday to address “some concerns” that have been raised regarding the work.

It also emphasised no work had taken place on the bridge itself.

The trust said previous solutions including the installation of artificial turf and replacement of natural turf did not prove successful in “adequately protecting the area from the significant wear and tear”.

But its updated statement accepted the new option was not the long-term solution.

It added: “We have also taken on feedback from many partners and stakeholders as well as the golfing public and we would like to thank everyone who has been in touch for their contribution to the issue.

“The widespread attention and commentary is indicative of the regard in which St Andrews is held around the world and we are conscious of our role in preserving this heritage while recognising its hallowed grounds have continued to evolve to meet demands for more than 600 years.”

The trust said it would continue to work with partners, including the council, to “explore alternative options for a permanent solution”.

The announcement came after Fife Council confirmed it was looking into the stone work around the bridge.

Alastair Hamilton, planning service manager, said: “We’re aware of the works which have been undertaken and are investigating the situation.

“We will confirm whether there’s a need for any retrospective planning or listed building consents in due course.”



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