Councillors on the North East Fife Planning Committee gave the plans for the new Madras College the green light at their meeting on the 9th January, subject to a number of conditions, with completion of the 1450-capacity school during the 2020/21 academic year.
Although the school is considered contrary to the development plan because the master plan for the St Andrews West strategic development area (SDA), in which Langlands sits, has yet to be approved, councillors were told the potential impact on the SDA was outweighed by the urgent need for the school. Councillors were warned that a delay in granting permission for the building could cost hundreds of thousands of pounds and see the programme slip if the contract was not awarded by the first week of February.
St Andrews councillor, Brian Thomson, who was involved in initiating discussions with the University of St Andrews regarding the Langlands site said: “It’s great to see planning permission being granted for the new Madras College, and there will hopefully be no more obstacles to overcome in the efforts to deliver the desperately needed new school. “The plans for the school look fantastic and, as well as providing a modern learning environment and opportunities for closer partnership working with the University of St Andrews, it will provide excellent sports and recreational facilities for community use – facilities that are significantly under-provided for in St Andrews at present. “It’s now essential that works to build the school start as soon as the new access road is in a condition that will take construction traffic. The report by the Council’s Education Service to support the planning application indicated that reaching a decision today would allow a site start in mid-May, and given that the works to construct the access road and the roundabout on the A91 appear to be progressing well, I hope that is achievable”.
In welcoming the news, local MP Stephen Gethins said: “Pupils, parents and the wider community have waited far too long for a new school. “I hope now that planning consent has been given every effort will be made to have the school built as soon as possible. “Many people including the campaign group Parent Voice have worked so hard to make sure the school is a reality and hopefully now all hurdles have been overcome and we can look forward to a new fit-for-purpose school benefitting pupils and staff and the community.” Councillor Ann Verner also welcomed the decision. “Congratulations must go to campaigners for all their hard work and commitment, the University for it’s involvement and also council officials for all their endeavours in bringing this to committee without further delay,” she said.