The 15-time major winner wants his T-Squared Social concept to “add to the local community” but they are coming out in force to oppose the New Picture House redevelopment plans
A petition to block Tiger Woods’ proposed St Andrews golf bar has racked up 9,000 signatures.
In the seven days since its launch, Ash Johann Curry-Machado’s plea to prevent the conversion of New Picture House Cinema into a T-Squared Social venue has received 9,172 names at the time of writing.
He said the redevelopment threatened to “strip away a vital part of our town’s identity and history”.
Fifteen-time major champion Woods, in partnership with musician Justin Timberlake, has unveiled plans for the sports and cocktail bar at the iconic North Street venue.
Yet to be put before council chiefs, the proposed venue would feature golf simulators, large screen TVs, bowling lanes, and is scheduled to open next year.
Having unveiled their first T-Squared Social venue in New York las month, Woods said of the plans: “I have been fortunate enough to enjoy many special moments here at St Andrews.
“We all wanted to bring our T-Square Social concept to St Andrews to add to the local community and be a welcoming place for those living in St Andrews and for visitors alike.”
It’s thought the revamped venue would retain one of the cinema screens for films, but the proposals have provoked a furious reaction among some residents of the Auld Grey Toon.
Tiger Woods St Andrews bar row: ‘Our culture, our heritage, and our community spirit are at stake’
Neil Dobson, St Andrews Community Council member, said to The Courier: “I find this very disrespectful and a bit cheeky, to be honest.
“This town has been very good to Tiger Woods and this is not the way to repay residents.”
But other prominent townspeople are backing the plans, with renowned golf historian Roger McStravick also telling The Courier: “There’s a feeling that everything has to stay the same as it was in the old days.
“Well, Tom Morris created a new front line for the Old Course. He certainly didn’t sit back and think ‘Allan Robertson worked on this course so I shouldn’t change it. Things evolve and they’ll continue to evolve.”
In his petition, Johann Curry-Machado, a student at the University of St Andrews, wrote: “The proposed transformation of the New Picture House into a luxury sports bar by T-Squared Social, an American company, is deeply alarming.
“Under these plans, the cinema will be reduced to a single screen, overshadowed by golf simulators and cocktail bars that cater predominantly to wealthy tourists.
“Such a development is out of touch with the needs and desires of the local community and the student population.
“It threatens to marginalize the very people who have nurtured and sustained the New Picture House for generations.
“St Andrews is a town with a rich Scottish identity, and the New Picture House has played an indispensable role in preserving that heritage.
“Converting it into another sports bar is a grave mistake that will contribute to the ongoing gentrification of our beloved town. Our culture, our heritage, and our community spirit are at stake. We must act now before it’s too late!”
You can view the petition here.
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