The council’s North East Fife Area Committee, meeting on Monday, approved an application by Madras Community Use and awarded a £14,000 grant from the town’s Common Good Fund to replace the posts – despite opposition from St Andrews Community Council, which had objected to the use of the common good fund to bail out Fife Council, which owns the land.
The unsightly corroded posts have been in poor condition for several years but it is hoped the grant will allow the posts to be replaced in time for the new rugby and football seasons.
St Andrews Labour councillor Brian Thomson, who suggested that an application be submitted after concerns were raised by parents of local school pupils, said he was delighted the committee had given its approval.
He said: “It’s embarrassing that the first thing many visitors will see is rusting rugby posts that are falling apart. Much more importantly, the posts are clearly a health and safety issue for users of the pitches, many of whom are children. The posts are generally covered in rust, one of the pitches is unusable due to a crossbar collapsing, and the top sections of some posts have fallen off.
“That the posts have ended up in such as state is yet another example of the impact of cuts to Fife Council’s funding, and it’s fortunate that the town has a relatively large common good fund that can be utilised to assist with such issues. At a time of limited council funding, this is the type of project that the common good fund should be used for.”
The pitches are used by Madras FP Rugby Club, Madras College, St Leonards School and the wider community. One is to be converted to a hybrid football and rugby pitch with combination posts, to allow flexible use.
The common good, which stands £1.28 million, receives income from town property and assets and is spent on projects for the benefit of St Andrews people. Applications of more than £2,000 require to be approved by councillors.