Concern that delivery date for new Madras is slipping

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There are fears that the delay in finalising the St Andrews West masterplan, of which the replacement Madras College is a part, may in turn delay the start of construction of the school beyond the current 2020/21 estimate .

Local Labour councillor Brian Thomson has raised concerns about the process and expressed disappointment that the St Andrews West masterplan had not been approved by councillors this month. “It’s great to see that the University of St Andrews is making good progress with the roundabout and access road for the proposed new Madras College and St Andrews West development.  However, I’m concerned that a start date for the construction of the new school has still to be set.

Whilst it’s clear that all parties involved are fully committed to delivering the new school – with the ongoing roadworks clear evidence of that – I understand that a start date can’t be set due to the ongoing discussions relating to the determination of the St Andrews West masterplan.

As a local councillor, I’m particularly aware of how desperately needed a new school is.  Councillors were recently advised that netting is to be fixed to the science block at Madras College’s South Street campus, to prevent non-structural cladding from falling off, and it’s just another example of why the new school needs to be delivered as soon as possible.

It’s been stated by Fife Council officers that the aim is to complete the new school in the 2020/21 academic year, but that’s starting to look very ambitious.  My personal view is that having the new school ready for use by August 2021 would be acceptable, but anything beyond that would not, and I’m sure that view would be mirrored in the local community.

Whilst I’m fully aware that unexpected issues can arise during a construction project, construction of the new school needs to get started as soon as possible and, given the pressing need to avoid any delay, I’ve written to Cllr Fay Sinclair – the Council’s Education & Children’s Services Convener – asking for assurances that the outstanding issues that are preventing a start date being confirmed are resolved as soon as possible, and that everything possible will be done to try and ensure that the new school will be available for use in August 2021.”

Ms Sinclair has been unavailable this week, but Alan Paul, Corporate Asset Manager, said the local authority hoped to progress new school soon.

“It is still very much our aim to see a new Madras delivered for 2020/2021 and everyone is working towards this,” he said. “We hope to begin some enabling works for the new school shortly.

“This is work that needs to be done before construction of the new school can begin and the work is likely to take approximately 11 weeks. We are continuing to work with planning colleagues and St Andrews West on the broader educational impact of their proposed development in the hope that this could allow the masterplan for St Andrews West to be considered by North East Fife planning committee before the summer.”

St Andrews QV (Qui Vive) is an independent not-for-profit, non-political platform for news and debates about issues that are important to the Town. It exists to hold decision makers and public services to account while its editorial policy is to accommodate all shades of opinion from all parts of the community, prioritising evidence-based arguments. St Andrews QV is a member of the Independent Community News Network and is committed to the Community Journalism Charter

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