Plans to build a new Madras College on land at Pipeland, on the outskirts of St Andrews, can continue following the outcome of a judicial review.
A petition from St Andrews Environmental Protection Association Ltd (STEPAL) which was raised in the courts questioning the legality of the decision to grant permission for the school, has been refused.
I’m very pleased with the decision but particularly pleased for the young people and staff who will be going through the door of a new Madras in the near future.Cllr Bryan Poole, Fife Council education spokesman
Fife Council says this will now enable the project to go ahead.
Council Leader David Ross welcomed the news saying: “We are very pleased with the decision taken by the court and hope that this will now enable us to move on and deliver a new state of the art school for the children of St Andrews and the surrounding areas.
“The pupils, staff and the wider community of Madras College have been very patient throughout this process but they deserve to have a building which matches the excellence of the school. I’d like to thank them for the support and determination they have shown and assure them that we will be doing all we can to have their school ready for them as soon as possible.”
Councillor Bryan Poole, executive spokesman for education, children, young people and families, was also pleased with the decision.
“This decision is essentially about people,” he said. “On hearing the result, I’ve tried to put myself in the shoes of the young people going through the doors of the new Madras College in, now, a relatively short time. They will enter a state of the art learning facility and will go on to achieve even more than they are currently achieving.
“And, of course, it’s not just the current generation of young people that will benefit – the children currently in our primary schools and nurseries will have the full range of opportunities that a new building can provide.
“The same goes for the staff at Madras. Given the physical learning environment they have been working in, they have over-delivered for the young people in their charge, which was clearly shown in their excellent HMI report. So, I’m very pleased with the decision but particularly pleased for the young people and staff who will be going through the door of a new Madras in the near future.”
Parent Voice, the campaign group in favour of the new school at Pipeland, is delighted with the outcome of the Judicial Review.
A spokesman said: “After the most inclusive public planning process in living memory, and with a clear majority of north east Fife residents in favour, the judgement provides a final endorsement for the new school to be located at Pipeland.
“STEPAL was warned many times that this was an entirely pointless case. All they have achieved is a divided community, a huge waste of public money and a shameful waste of time for the children of our area.
“Parent Voice would like to take this opportunity to congratulate and thank those Fife councillors and the many Fife Council staff who have worked so hard in providing this great step forward for our children and the community. We look forward to work beginning as soon as possible.”
St Andrews Labour councillor, Brian Thomson, said: “This is fantastic news for the children and young people of St Andrews and the surrounding area, as well as the staff at Madras College.
“As a parent of school age children, and a local councillor, I am delighted that it looks like – at long last – works can commence soon on a desperately needed new Madras College.”
The directors of STEPAL have responded to the result of the Judicial Review with the following statement:
“STEPAL will consider Lord Doherty’s decision carefully with counsel with a view to an appeal and remains concerned about the way the decision to grant planning was made.
“Our twin objectives remain – to avoid unnecessary incursion into the highly sensitive and valued Green Belt environment of the landscape setting of the town of St Andrews, and to ensure that all the pupils of the new Madras College enjoy an excellent educational experience.”