Shock at last week’s Court of Session decision to uphold STEPAL’S appeal against Fife Council’s decision to site the new Madras College at Pipeland has echoed round St Andrews this week.
Pupils and former pupils, parents and politicians have all expressed disappointment at the decision, which could mean Fife Council going back to the drawing board in developing a new school for the area.
Almost the only group which rejoiced in the decision was STEPAL, the St Andrews Environmental Protection Association Ltd, which described themselves as “pleased” by the decision.
Fife Councillor Donald Macgregor supported them: “Pipeland is the wrong site. A new school will stand for generations – thus it is vital to get it right,” he said.
But pupils at the school were so enraged they set up a new Facebook page which garnered thousands of supporters in just days.
S2 pupil Aaron Cunningham (13) said he wanted to let the public know what pupils and teachers have to go through weekly, commenting: “I am disgusted that we are not getting a new, needed school on the Pipeland Site.”
Parent Voice described parents across the area as devastated by the judgement: “Hundreds of children and young people will have to continue to receive their secondary education in buildings which are not fit for purpose.”
Cllr Brian Thomson said it was: “deeply dispiriting that a small number of people continually thwart and/or slow down the modernisation and upgrading of essential public services.”
Commenting on the judgment by the Court of Session, Roderick Campbell, MSP for North East Fife, called on all parties to come together to constructively consider what alternatives exist for a new secondary school to be built as quickly as possible. He added: “I have written to the First Minister to ask whether the Scottish Government will provide any assistance to help revive any hope of a new school being built in the town, in the near future.”
It is important that work must be undertaken, at the earliest opportunity, to consider all possible options so that a new secondary school can be delivered, as a matter of urgency.
Cllr David Ross, leader of Fife Council, acknowledged the school could not be built within the expected time frame, but promised that investment would be made in the current school buildings.
He stressed: “No decisions have been made on the council’s next steps, following the legal decision, but the proposal to build a new school at Pipelands cannot progress as planned within the expected timescales.
“We are still looking very carefully at the implications of this legal judgement and are considering the possibility of an appeal. Our position remains that Pipeland is still the only suitable, available site in St Andrews which meets our aspirations.”