Campaigners for and against plans for a new Madras College at Pipeland have welcomed the publication of “missing” material.
Last month, a pre-determination planning hearing – attended by around 200 people – had to be abandoned when it was revealed the applicant intended to submit more information about its plans.
There were fears this could hold up the decision-making process, further delaying the prospect of a much-needed new school being built.
But Emac Planning – acting on behalf of Fife Council’s education service – has adhered to a promise given at the abandoned hearing to ensure the additional information was submitted during the first working week of the new year.
And Council officials were due to meet today (Friday) to discuss a revised timetable for dealing with the planning application, with the hope being there will be little or no slippage in the schedule.
Wendy Donald, from Parent Voice, a campaign group in support of the new school at Pipeland, said: “We’re pleased to see the additional material has been made available and we sincerely hope this means the planning process is now back on track, with the application going before councillors for a decision in April.
“We’ve already waited far too long for a new school to replace the existing Madras College and we don’t want to see any further hold-ups.
“The children of St Andrews and north east Fife deserve to be educated in a new, modern school which is fit for purpose. The Pipeland plans are our chance to achieve this – and we have to take it.”
Lindsay Matheson, chairman of the Campaign for a new Madras College for the 21st Century, agreed that all involved, whether in favour of Pipeland or against, were united in wanting the matter to progress correctly and swiftly to a decision.
He said: “Well done to Fife Council for managing to get the missing information out on Monday, the first full working day back after the holidays, and well done on setting a deadline for comment of the end of January which should prevent any repeat of the fiasco in December.”
However, Mr Matheson added the additional ‘pre-determination stage’ had been necessitated because the Pipeland proposal was in conflict with Fife Council’s own adopted development plans.
“The campaign group I represent firmly believes that had Fife Council chosen the North Haugh option instead of Pipeland, the planning process would already be well advanced, if not complete, and construction about to commence,” he said.
“It should be clear to any unbiased observer that the Pipeland option is most unlikely to produce a swift solution, or indeed any solution at all.
“The sooner this is recognised, and a more suitable option chosen, the better for all concerned.”
The planning application has been re-advertised and a new date will be set for the pre-determination hearing. It will then go to the north east Fife planning committee and the full Fife Council for a decision. If approved, the plans will still require the consent of Scottish Government ministers.