Pipeland objectors plan new campaign

St Andrews councillor Brian Thomson looks at plans for the new Madras College at the Pipeland Farm site.
St Andrews councillor Brian Thomson looks at plans for the new Madras College at the Pipeland Farm site.

New moves to prevent the new Madras College being built at Pipeland have been initiated by the St Andrews Environmental Protection Association Ltd (STEPAL), supported by the St Andrews Preservation Trust.

This week the Trust issued a statement backing moves to stop Fife Council removing the land at Pipeland from the green belt.

STEPAL is to host a public meeting in October about the green belt, which the Trust has “warmly welcomed”.

And the Preservation Trust said it: “seeks to campaign with all concerned local bodies to defeat the council’s move and to maintain the integrity of the green belt.”

The Trust goes on to accuse the council administration of seeking to alter it for narrow party political reasons, describing it as: “a cynical move to remove one of the main obstacles to building the new Madras at Pipeland.”

Local Fife Councillor Brian Thomson was angered by the statement: “I’m intrigued as to what ‘narrow party political reasons’ have influenced the council, as part of the on-going process to develop the best possible new school for the children of St Andrews and the wider Madras College catchment area.

“Fife Council has a minority Labour administration which requires the support of non-Labour councillors, the education portfolio holder is an Independent councillor, and the Pipeland planning application was supported by councillors from all parties and groups, apart from the three Conservative councillors.”

Cllr Thomson said he was not surprised at the Trust’s continuing campaign to protect the green belt, but continued: “What is surprising about the statement is the claim that STEPAL was set up to protect the environment.

“It’s widely recognised that STEPAL was set up for one reason – as a vehicle to mount a legal challenge to block the construction of a new Madras College at the Pipeland site.”

Pam Ewen, senior manager (planning) at Fife Council, explained: “The issue of whether or not land at Pipeland Farm is designated as green belt is currently before independent reporters appointed to the examination of the Fife Local Development Plan (FIFEplan). In recent correspondence with the reporters, Fife Council’s planning service has recognised that it is open to the reporter to retain the Pipeland Farm site, either outwith or within the green belt designation. The report on the examination is expected soon.”