Planning under attack in St Andrews as Community Council chairman stands down

Howard Greenwell at the site of St Andrews' proposed Craigtoun North development
Howard Greenwell at the site of St Andrews' proposed Craigtoun North development

Retiring St Andrews Community Council chairman Howard Greenwell has described development plans for Fife as “not worth the electrons they take up”.

As he stood down after two years as chairman, Mr Greenwell claimed: “Policies seem to be there to be broken at every opportunity because of some good excuse, and developers pandered to whatever inappropriate proposals they put forward.”

He went on to cite FIFEplan, currently under consideration by the Scottish Government, as an example: “The latest example is the new FIFEplan proposal to remove the proposed Madras College site at Pipeland from the green belt, perhaps to make it easier to build a school there, or maybe, to enable the land owner to build houses in the middle of the green belt.”

Mr Greenwell moved on to the Madras situation describing the failure to get the school off the ground as: “a waste of three and a half years of everyone’s time.

“The children need a new school, especially since it seems the current administration has stopped maintaining the existing buildings used by Madras College. This Community Council strongly supports the development of a new school in the very near future,” he continued, adding: “and hopes to see a full re-assessment of all possible sites conducted in a fair manner in the very near future.”

And he hoped: “A full and fair assessment will perhaps go some way to healing the deep divisions that still exist between some of the residents of this burgh,” and promised: “I am sure we will discuss the school situation more in 2016-17.”

The council did discuss Madras College later in the meeting – although the debate was brought to a premature end by the sounding of the fire alarm in St Andrews Town Hall which also brought about the end of the meeting.

Callum MacLeod had spent less than an hour as the new chairman of the council, when Madras College came upon the agenda.

The discussion was prompted by fellow community councillor Chris Wallard’s plea that members of the council should declare an interest when discussing the Madras situation.

The item appeared on the agenda as “Madras – Should we discuss”. The answer, though, was they didn’t really want too, with Mr MacLeod summing up: “I would guide us towards waiting to be asked.”

But he took a different view from Mr Wallard:“I think declaring an interest should be a fairly rare thing – common sense has to prevail.

“There are clear occasions when an interest must be declared and I am reluctant that anyone should exclude themselves from taking part and I want us to be sensible about this when the time comes.”