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Members of the St Andrews community have joined forces in a bid to prevent Tiger Woods’ new sports bar in the Fife town.
T-Squared Social, a joint venture between Woods and Justin Timberlake, is set to open next year in the historic New Picture House Cinema.
However, a petition to block the conversion has gathered 2,500 signatures, as concerned citizens say they are desperate to preserve the cultural landmark.
Created by Ash Johann Curry-Machado, a student at the University of St Andrews, the petition labelled the transformation as ‘deeply alarming’.
It reads: “We implore you to reconsider the proposed redevelopment plans by T-Squared Social, which threatens to strip away a vital part of our town’s identity and history.
“It is not just a cinema; it is a sanctuary of memories, a place where our diverse community comes together to share in the joy of film and culture.
“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.”
The American pair opened their first T-Squared Social venue in New York last month and immediately planned to take the business to St Andrews.
Woods, who won The Open at the Old Course in 2000 and 2005, said his state-of-the-art bar would ‘add to the local community’.
The 47-year-old claims it will be a ‘welcoming place for those living in St Andrews and for visitors alike’.
Built during the 1930s, the independent cinema has three screens and is the only picture house in the town.
Angered supporters of the petition shared their thoughts, with one calling the project ‘careless, greedy entitlement on Timberlake and Woods’ part’.
Others said: “The thought of losing the town’s one and only cinema is absolutely devastating. To see it diminished to a single screen catering to a select wealthy clientele would be gutting.”
“This cinema is a miracle in an increasingly cold and tawdry world. St. Andrews is increasingly being used for the pleasures of impossibly wealthy American golfers.”
The proposal was welcomed by New Picture House managing director David Morris, as the bar, just minutes from the Old Course, would protect the venue’s long-term future.
He said: “The planned T-Squared Social investment will enable the local community, students and visitors, the opportunity to experience a broader range of cinema, dining and entertainment at the popular venue.”
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