Clearer picture to emerge over single-site Madras?

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A clearer picture of what Fife Council’s plans are for a single-site Madras College in St Andrews is likely to emerge within the next three months.

Details of the way forward have been revealed in an open letter to parents of pupils and prospective pupils at the secondary school from Independent Councillor Bryan Poole, the local authority’s executive spokesman for the education, children, young people and families portfolio.

The Cupar councillor, who has been given the key role under the Labour administration’s new cabinet-style decision-making structure, also made it clear that the £40 million originally designated for the new school remains in place.

He said: ”It was and is the view of the current administration and myself that there was undue haste in moving from the breakdown of the Fife Council-St Andrews University partnership initiative at Langlands to agreeing the Kilrymont re-build as the preferred and consultation option.

“My personal view is that if we were starting with a blank sheet of paper for Madras and taking into consideration the catchment area of the school, most people would be of the view that we should be trying to source a site somewhere in the western approaches to the town. If we could identify a site in that area then I would hope that we can take the majority of the stakeholders with us – that is not the case with the Kilrymont re-build option.”

Councillor Poole said that the executive had decided to “take a bit of time” to identify and, thereafter, investigate the alternative site options for a new school - but with the intention to move as quickly as possible towards having a replacement.

He told the Citizen: ”We want to reassure all the stakeholders that the £40 million that was earmarked for the Madras replacement remains in place.

“We are actively looking at and exploring several sites and, to date, nothing has been ruled out, but we would anticipate narrowing down the potential site options by the end of summer - August/September.

“We are keen to work with all stakeholders – the school community, parents and the wider community – as we progress with this project and we commit to coming back towards the end of the summer to advise of the progress we are making.”

Meanwhile, St Andrews Councillor Brian Thomson told the latest meeting of St Andrews Community Council that the administration is looking to move to a shortlist of prospective sites “very quickly.”

Sites which are among those being scrutinised are at Strathtyrum, Petheram Bridge, Station Park, the North Haugh pond area and Pipeland.