Campaigners for an new Madras College at Pipeland have described the latest legal challenge as “cruel”.
St Andrews Environmental Protection Association Ltd (STEPAL) is appealing against the decision by Lord Doherty to dismiss the judicial review of the planning process for the new school at Pipeland.
It’s a move which means building work will, at best, be delayed for months – and that’s angered Parent Voice.
A spokesman for the group said: “This cruel decision by STEPAL doesn’t just damage our children’s futures. As well as continuing divisions in the community it risks damaging the character of St Andrews.
“Madras College used to be a reason for families to move to this area. While teachers and pupils continue to achieve great things, we know that families are moving away due to the shameful conditions at the school.
“Top academics are also now reluctant to join the university due to the sub-standard facilities available for their children.
Madras College used to be a reason for families to move to this area ... we know that families are moving away due to the shameful conditions at the school.Parent Voice
“As these families leave, we will see the community spirit disappear, replaced by more rental properties or second homes.”
Parent Voice said STEPAL’s actions had already wasted millions of pounds of taxpayer and public money, which should have been used to fund social care or provide other critical services for the whole of the community.
The spokesman added: “It would be heart-breaking if the increased costs have a negative impact on the standard of educational facilities and the external appearance of the new school that will be built at Pipeland.”
He went on: “STEPAL is using private wealth to block the outcome of a democratic process, with delays and inflated costs on a desperately-needed public project. These actions provide succour to those who seek to weaken planning protections permanently, using cases such as this to argue that it should be harder to challenge planning decisions.
“The plans at Pipeland have been scrutinised in minute detail, with unprecedented, open, democratic debate for a planning decision.
“They have been passed by the overwhelming majority of those who expressed a view in public consultation, scrutinised by the North East Fife Planning Committee, given landslide support by councillors of all parties, been approved by the Scottish Government and – ultimately – deemed lawful by a judge.
“STEPAL’s actions may well accelerate changes in planning law, preventing other organisations in St Andrews and beyond opposing future development.”
Parent Voice has urged STEPAL, and its backers such as the St Andrews Preservation Trust, to put the long term future of the town before their pride.
“This remarkable town is about more than just our buildings – preserving St Andrews means keeping it a viable place for families as well.
“The community spirit, the bright young minds and our proud heritage in world-leading education are the true foundations of St Andrews.
“We would urge anyone supporting STEPAL to pause and think realistically about the prospects of success and who they are hurting.”