Parents petition to help push Pipeland plan

Members and supporters of Parent Voice with their 600-plus signature petition. (Photo by Peter Adamson)
Members and supporters of Parent Voice with their 600-plus signature petition. (Photo by Peter Adamson)

A petition signed by over 600 people in just one week is urging Fife Council to keep pushing ahead with plans for a new school at Pipeland.

Parent Voice, the campaign group in favour of building the new Madras College at the Pipeland site, launched the petition in response to a legal challenge to the plans.

St Andrews Environmental Protection Association Ltd (STEPAL) is seeking a judicial review of the process which resulted in the Council granting planning permission in principle.

However, the legal process is not due to start at the Court of Session until December 3, much to the dismay of Parent Voice and its supporters.

Its petition, presented to the Council yesterday (Thursday), calls on the authority to continue to push ahead with the application to finalise the plans for the school.

And Parent Voice is also keen to explore any opportunities to speed up the legal process, minimising any potential delay to the building of the new school.

Chris Wallard, spokesman for Parent Voice, said: “The petition carries over 600 signatures from members of the local community collected in less than one week. We have been blown away by the level of support that has been shown for building this desperately needed new school.

“We wanted to demonstrate to both Fife Council and the small group inflicting a legal challenge just how much support there is in the community for these plans.

“Parent Voice urges Fife Council to continue with its planning for construction, and condemns, in the strongest terms, the attempt by a tiny group of objectors to override a lawful, open and democratic decision.”

He said any delay in the process meant there was a real risk more pupils would have to put up with being educated in the existing school buildings which were not fit for purpose.

The current application – which seeks to meet the conditions attached to the planning permission in principle granted earlier this year – will go before the north east planning committee, although hopes that it would be considered at the next meeting on September 10 will not be realised.

Iain Matheson, Fife Council’s chief legal officer, said: “Whilst the application will not make the agenda for the next north east planning committee meeting, work is progressing on this and it will still be considered by the committee in the near future.”

Mr Wallard said Parent Voice very much hoped that all councillors on the committee would make every effort to attend the meeting to vote on what would be “a once in a lifetime decision for the children of North East Fife”.

The current application has again split the community with many representations for and against the plans.

Supporters include a number of school parent councils, while St Andrews Preservation Trust, Confederation of St Andrews Residents Association and North East Fife Community Safety Panel are among the objectors..