Objection by Alan Werritty (Emeritus Professor of Geography)

My objection is on the following four grounds:

Development within the green belt. This is my fundamental objection to the proposal. As para 2.3.2 in the application notes, the proposal must demonstrate that it “meets an established need” and that “no other suitable site is available”. Until the Council produces an unequivocal audit trail that all other proposed sites have been rejected on sound grounds, this application fails to meet the criterion for development within the green belt.

Value for money and sustainability. The Pipeland site provides poor value for money given that a significant proportion of the £40 million allocated to the project will be required to level the site for playing fields and re-engineer the road system leading to the site. Bussing pupils through the town during the lifetime of the school building will also have an adverse social impact on traffic flow and add significantly to the project’s carbon footprint when compared with alternative sites.

Costly management of surface water runoff will also diminish the capital sum available for the school and playing fields. Based on the modelling of surface water runoff by URS, the outline design for the proposed SUDS is under-specified. The existing culvert at Largo Road is under-designed and will need replacement. Scottish Water and SEPA will impose stringent demands in terms of not adding to flood risk both locally and along the Kinessburn. The SUDS will only provide flood risk reduction up to a specified design standard. Should that level of protection be exceeded either by under-design or poor maintenance, the Council could be liable in any action raised by affected property owners.

The options appraisal leading to the application is flawed. The alternative site has not been subject to a comparable detailed scrutiny. Only when both the Pipeland and North Haugh sites have been examined even-handedly can their relative merits be assessed and an objective and robust judgement made.