Madras opponents warn of ‘insurmountable’ problems

Artist's impression of the interior of a remodelled Kilrymont.
Artist's impression of the interior of a remodelled Kilrymont.
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Opponents of proposals by Fife Council to remodel the present Madras College junior school campus into a £40 million single-site secondary school in St Andrews have claimed the site has a number of “insurmountable” drawbacks.

A spokesman for Parent Voice, comprising parents of pupils at the school and feeder primary schools, along with other interested parties, said the group believed that a public meeting held last week in St Andrews had reinforced the reasons why the proposed refurbishment of the Kilrymont site should be rejected, and a new-build school developed on a greenfield site.

Brian Thomson said: ”The presentation by the council’s external architects merely reinforced how cramped the site of a refurbished and extended Kilrymont would be, and their description of the proposed atrium resembling an indoor ‘shopping centre’ was particularly uninspiring.”

Parent Voice maintain that a whole series of questions relating to a number of key concerns failed to be answered by the council’s officers.

Issues of particular concern highlighted by the audience included the validity of the Madras College pupil consultation as it appeared not to have followed guidance prepared by Scotland’s Commissioner for Children and Young People; the lack of proposed car parking spaces, and the impact that would have on the surrounding residential streets; the impact on the already congested and narrow Scooniehill Road; and the ability to provide school meals for around 1400 pupils.

Parent Voice also maintain there was a lack of detail on the proposal to decant all of S1-S6 pupils to the South Street building for at least two years and that it will have a negative impact on the education of pupils.

Mr Thomson added: ”It was clear from the presentation and the question and answer session that the Kilrymont site has some insurmountable problems, and that the optimum solution is to develop a new build school on a greenfield site, as recommended by leading educationalist Keir Bloomer in his recent report.”

Kenneth Greer, Fife Council’s executive director of education, said: “The consultation taking place at the moment is one to determine whether or not there is agreement to move the school on to a single site at Kilrymont.

“Regardless of the outcome of that consultation it will not be up to council officers to determine what happens next.

“At the end of the consultation period, the results will be collated and sent to Education Scotland for consideration by HM Inspectors.

“Following their response a report will be prepared for the next available education and children’s services committee.

“It will be up to the individual elected members who sit on that committee to look carefully at the report and the results of the consultation and decide how they want to proceed.”