Fife Council has voted in favour of giving planning permission for a secondary school campus on Pipeland Road to replace Madras College’s current split campus.
The £40 million school would be built to the south of the town on greenbelt land.
The current campus is split between South Street and Kilrymont Road, one and a half miles apart. Campaign group Parent Voice recently released photographs depicting ‘deplorable’ conditions at the school.
Earlier this year The Courier reported that chairman of the St Andrews Community Council, Kyffin Roberts, was urging parents not to “get personal” as the debate rumbled on.
Tensions were running high after the North East Fife Area Committee had recommended that Fife Council throw out plans for a secondary school at Pipeland Farm owing to fears of difficult access for some pupils and flooding.
Further to this, a consultation meeting was adjourned following the last-minute submission of extra information – though only after more than 100 councillors, parents and campaigners had assembled in the town hall.
Campaign for a New Madras for the 21st Century, chaired by a former Madras College rector, supported an alternative “pond site” on the University-owned North Haugh campus, but fears of floor risks and significant additional costs of up to £14 million meant many parents were in favour of the Pipeland site.
On 31 March, around 250 protesters from Parent Voice gathered outside Madras College on South Street as part of the ‘Pipe Up for Pipeland’ demonstration ahead of the 3 April meeting.
Councillor Bryan Poole said: “I’m delighted with today’s decision which, at last, gives hope for the next generation of St Andrews’ high school pupils.
“I hope that government ministers will let us get on with designing a new school, which is desperately needed for north east Fife. I invite and urge the parent community and local organisations, like the St Andrews Preservation Trust and Community Council, to work with us on a design and final plans. We want everyone to be positively involved and any further delay will only be detrimental to the education of local youngsters.”
A spokesperson for Parent Voice said: “We welcome the Fife councillors’ decision to approve the building of the long-awaited and desperately needed replacement.
“We would expect that now the democratic process has been completed, all of the interested parties will accept the decision and assist the vital process of getting the school up and running by the summer of 2016.”
The plan now requires a referral to the Scottish government for a final decision. If government ministers approve, a detailed design and planning application will be drawn up for the new school.
Opponents to the plans may still be able to launch legal action to challenge the decision.