Fife Council is to push ahead with plans for Madras College to be located at Pipeland, St Andrews, it has been confirmed.
It means the local authority will be going through the full planning application process once again, two years after outline planning permission was first granted for the Pipeland site.
The move comes after prolonged court actions which recently saw opponents of the Pipeland site win an appeal against the site. Now the council has decided not to go back to court and instead start the planning process again.
Pam Ewen, Senior Manager (Planning) at Fife Council, said: “We will now re-open and commence reconsideration of the application.”
But she warned that it would be a lengthy process: “As planning authority we firstly need to consider what new information the applicant will need to submit to allow reconsideration of this proposal.
“I anticipate that it will take us some time to go back through the original information submitted with the planning application before we can advise the applicant what is required.”
The council added that this would only be a first step in the application process and full consultation would follow at a later stage if the application proceeds.
Council leader David Ross reassured pupils, parents and the wider public that the will to see a new Madras is as strong as ever: “ I am adamant that the children of Madras deserve a new school which will meet all our aspirations. We will not be diverted from that aim,” he insisted.
“We have been advised that the planning application for the Pipeland site remains ‘live’ and the council will have to consider how to take this forward.
“Officers are currently working on proposals for improvements to the current buildings as a matter of urgency,” Cllr Ross added.
STEPAL, the body opposing Pipeland as the site of the new school, welcomed the move, calling on the council to: “review all the previous site options considered since 2009 and make a selection which complies with planning policy, meets educational aspirations and commands wide public support.”
Parent Voice also welcomed the decision:“We strongly support this decision by Fife Council. Time and time again the community has resoundingly backed Pipeland.”