Following last month’s intervention by St Andrews Councillor, Brian Thomson, urging Fife Council to reconsider its plans for hockey at the new Madras College, further concerns about hockey provision in the town have been expressed.
Scottish Hockey, the governing body for the sport, and local politicians, MSP Willie Rennie and Councillor Tim Brett, have voiced their concerns as opposition grows over plans for the new school to have two 3G pitches, with no 2G pitch, as originally planned.
Without a 2G pitch, there will be no pitch at the new school suitable for hockey for children beyond S3, and, although Fife Council and St Andrews University have come to an agreement which will allow Madras students having access 2G pitches for eight hours per school week, this may be insufficient for the town as a whole.
St Andrews currently has three hockey clubs, with around 400 members in total. Another 60+ girls take part in the sport outwith school hours each week.
Scottish Hockey said this week that the decision “significantly impacts the potential for clubs to grow hockey locally, meaning opportunities are limited for the community of north east Fife to access a gender balanced sport for life.” SH went on to say that the University’s pitch was the only one suitable for the sport, but that access to the pitch was limited because of demand.
Cllr Brett called the decision “very disappointing” and called for the issue to be addressed.
Mr Rennie called on Fife Council to reconsider the decision, adding: “Parents and pupils have expressed their desire for a 2G pitch to be included so I don’t understand why the Council are not listening.”
Shelagh McLean, Head of Education at Fife Council, said: “In terms of the Fife pitch strategy for hockey, the University is the designated east Fife facility. Therefore, there is provision, within the immediate area, at the University of St Andrews The artificial pitches which are being installed at Madras are multi-functional to give the broadest access to a range of sports. “Madras is a community use school and we will welcome the community to continue to use the facilities.”