Council tweaks Pipeland plans

North Haugh has become a 'highly prized' wetland, according to Parent Voice.
North Haugh has become a 'highly prized' wetland, according to Parent Voice.

Fife Council has extended the amount of time the public has to comment on its proposals for the new Madras College in St Andrews.

The move comes after a raft of new information about the development of the site was posted on the Council’s planning website.

More than 80 documents reveal the school building is to be moved to the north by just 3.5 metres. Other new documents deal with flooding and drainage, signage, lighting and traffic.

But the Council denies this will further delay work on the school – already six months behind schedule because of the pending Judicial Review of the decision to site the school at Pipeland.

Colin McCredie, programme manager for Building Fife’s Future Programme, said: “We’ve submitted updated plans to show improvements to our proposal. This isn’t unusual during the design process of any large building.

“The extension of the consultation process will not have any direct impact on the delivery programme or costs.”

The St Andrews Environmental Protection Assocation Ltd (STEPAL), instigator of the Judicial Review, urged the public to take the opportunity to comment on the plans: “It is important that previous objectors respond during this consultation or they may be considered to be ‘content’.”

STEPAL chairman Mary Jack added: “A number of the documents relate to potential flooding and drainage problems.”

STEPAL also denies it was responsible for delays to the development, with Ms Jack commenting: “All delays to date have been caused by the Council’s failure to identify serious engineering problems on the site and access problems to the site, necessitating revised proposals and public notification of amended plans.”

St Andrews Community Council joined the debate, with chairman Howard Greenwell claiming the new documents “represent a new set of plans for the school. The official notice advertising this new information does not explain its significance”.

Mr Greenwell, too, urged objectors to respond: “It is expected that, unless objectors lodge a new objection response to this consultation and to the proposed changes, they may be considered to have ‘consented’ to the proposals.”

Consultation on the plans for Madras College remains open until the end of the month.

Costs have already risen from the predicted £40 million to £42.7 million caused, Fife Council said, by the upturn in the construction industry which had been expected and action taken to minimise the impact on all its projects.

In another move, Pipeland supporters group Parent Voice claimed the alternative school site, North Haugh, had become “a highly prized wetland”.

After just one day’s rain recently, the site had flooded, while the Pipeland site showed “absolutely no sign of flooding,” it claimed. A spokesman for Parent Voice asked: “Why would an ‘environmental’ organisation seek to obliterate the North Haugh site with its obvious wildlife and ecological values?”