Statement by Mr Arlen Pardoe

As a St Andrews resident since 1972, having taught at Madras for 32 years and served as Chief Invigilator for a further 7 years, I fully support the need for a new Madras College However, I cannot agree with the proposed site. My concerns submitted were on a range of issues but I can only cover one of these - Flooding.

It is well known that there are certain flooding issues in St Andrews. In respect to the application these are concentrated in two parts of the town, the land immediately north of the proposals and 900m further north at the Kinnesburn.

Properties on the south of St Andrews have historically suffered flooding during periods of high rainfall caused by water run-off from fields further south. Some efforts have been made to mitigate the effects of the water, notably the concrete channels identified in the URS reports but more flooding has been reported by local residents since their installation.

The Kinnesburn is the main watercourse carrying surface water away to the sea. In the last 40 years there have been a number of occasions where it has flooded, as recently as July 2012. This is a combination of surge from upstream of St Andrews and surface water from all over the town. Culverts, including those under Largo and Pipeland Roads, carry water from the site under consideration. SEPA assigned the Kinnessburn to have a status of 'Poor' in 2008.

The URS reports outline how the flooding issues are to be approached and mitigated. A SUDS system is envisaged, with a large attenuation pond and an existing soakaway tank located between the school and the residential properties.

Figures from the Met Office state that four of the five wettest years in the UK have occurred since 2000 with 2012 the second wettest year in the UK national record. We are getting wetter in succeeding decades. 'Extreme' daily rainfall has become more frequent.

Issues to address
The reports contain considerable details and plans for mitigation of flooding problems. These are produced using standard procedures which do not take account of the sloping site. Some of the figures used are questionable. There appears to be an element of dealing with problems once the construction stage is over. Apart from the extra expense in doing this with a working school, it is a cavalier approach to those affected residents.

1. The Site topography has not been adequately accounted for in the reports:
  • Height difference (double that quoted);
  • no account for runoff from the hills to the south;
  • ICP model used which does not account for the slope. ACAS does but was not used which doubles the figures for calculations;
  • Rainfall figures are historic and do not account for current conditions.
2. Attenuation Storage is not as recommended in the reports:
  • Volume is substantially less than that recommended;
  • It is almost all above ground whereas the report recommends below ground;
  • The Largo Road culvert is already constrained and cannot cope with any extra volume unless expensive and disruptive works take place.
3. Safety issues:
  • The large open SUDS proposed (approximately 25m x 50m x 2m) will vary from almost empty to full. There are safety concerns for such a feature immediately next to a secondary school.

As a result of these issues the volume of water to be stored will be increased and so the already under-designed system will not cope. Extra expense is involved for any possible improvement.

The suggestion to divert excess to alternative SUDS will not work - there is no planned alternative and the site has no capacity for one.

The potential for flooding of residential properties to the north is increased. The Local Plan requires the precautionary principle to be applied in planning decisions. If the residents to the north suffered flooding then litigation is possible.

There are a number of points raised in the URS reports referring to more investigative work needing to be done to clarify flooding issues. No further information has been forthcoming regarding these matters.

All these issues can be avoided as there is a much more suitable site at the North Haugh. Any potential flooding does not affect residential properties.