Concerns over progress of new Madras College

An artist's impression of the proposed Madras College.
An artist's impression of the proposed Madras College.

A St Andrews parents’ group has voiced concerns over a perceived lack of progress on the new Madras College.

Fife Council plans for the building to be opened during the 2020/21 academic session, however, Parents’ Voice says people are “concerned by the deafening silence about any progress”.

It has called on the council to lay out a timetable for delivering the school for 2020/21 and provide assurances that plans are on track.

The group is also urging other stakeholders to work together to make sure the council is held to account and that progress is being made.

A statement from the group concluded: “Anyone familiar knows the decades of disappointment and debate that have taken us to this point.

“Now that we have unit around building the new Madras at Langlands, let us act together in order to turn promises into reality. There is no more time for delay.”

North East Fife MP Stephen Gethins said parents in St Andrews had “waited far too long for a new school” and that both the children and parents “deserve better”.

He added: “The new Madras College should and must be the very best and it’s vital that it goes ahead as quickly as possible, without any further delay.”

Councillor Brian Thomson said he shares Parents’ Voice’s concerns about the progress of the new school.

He added: “I’ve taken up concerns that members of the local community have raised with me, along with my own concerns, with senior colleagues, but officers have not been able to provide me with a date for when the planning application is likely to be determined by the North East Planning Committee.

“That said, whilst it would be good to get planning permission as soon as possible, an equally pressing issue is the access road, and getting it started.

“The access road needs to be built to a standard that it can cope with construction traffic before any works on the new school can commence.”

Cllr Thomson added: “In short, without the access road, construction of the school can’t commence.

“Given that it will take around 30 weeks to construct the road to an acceptable standard, plus around two years to build the school, it’s already clear that completing the school in the 2020/21 academic year is almost unachievable.”

Alan Paul, senior manager at Fife Council, said: “We are still fully committed to delivering a new Madras College, in St Andrews and our position on that has not changed.

“Work is continuing and we are still working towards achieving completion during the 2020/21 academic year.”