Decision day looms for new St Andrews secondary school

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A decision will be made next week (Wednesday 9) on the plans for a new secondary school in St Andrews.

Madras College has been earmarked for a new building for several years, and plans were submitted in February 2018 for the new school at the Langlands site in the west of St Andrews.

The school grounds would have two new all weather pitches, 172 car parking spaces, 19 coach parking spaces and 112 cycle spaces.

The school capacity would remain roughly the same, with space for 1450 pupils across the three storey campus

It is estimated that the £50m project would take two years to complete, with a view to opening for the 2021-22 school year.

Currently, the high school is split across two facilities.

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Locals have been mostly in favour of the application, with 97 support letters submitted against  11 letters of objection.

They included Mr Anthony Brennan, who stated: “St Andrews needs a new school desperately and it is bitterly disappointing that some well funded vocal objectors have focused their efforts on damaging the future of the town in the name of preserving it.

“A new school was being discussed when my children were born, and now they’ll be lucky if the youngest of them sees two years in the new facility. Others have waited much longer. This new school should be built as soon as possible.”

Mr Chris Wallard, added: “I fully support the proposal. Failure to pass this planning application would be a woeful failing for yet another generation of pupils.”

However, Miss Sophie Edwards, from Cupar, objected to the new plans,  saying: “North Haugh is an area of outstanding natural beauty. It is one of the few remaining Arboretums left in Scotland, with ancient trees. It is a well-known fact that one mature tree supports a higher level of diversity, than multiple newly planted trees.

“I appreciate that the proposal includes areas of green space, but these green spaces will never replace the biodiversity that is lost through the destruction of North Haugh.”

She added: “The terrain is not suitable for a road. After any period of rain, which does not have to be heavy or extensive, the area floods. The field by the pond turns into a swamp and this will be exasperated by the laying of tarmac.”