A Twenty-first Century Vision for a New Secondary School

Serving the Madras Catchment Area



One of the reasons Fife Council gave for not selecting the North Haugh site was because of the exceptional costs they said would be encountered there. These turned out to be non-existent or at least greatly exaggerated.

Having launched into the Pipeland proposal without any assessment of site conditions, they are, discovering exceptional costs for that site.

Some of the exceptional costs for Pipeland which are now beginning to emerge are as follows:

Excavation and infill - five sports pitches 1

Conservative estimate £1,426,000
Excavation, infill and tanking – school building 2 Estimate £1,600,000
Excavation and infill – car park 3
Estimate £150,000
Purchase of waterworks 4
(previously thought to be included in deal)
Estimate £300,000
Demolition of waterworks and reinstatement of ground 5
Estimate £40,000
Removal of 19 inch gas mains 6
(unknown to Fife Council when site selected)
FC estimate £750.000
Reinstatement of 19 inch main gas mains 7 Estimate £750,000
Construction of alternative road to Pipeland Cottage 8 Estimate £50,000
Additional architects fees for custom design of school for sloping site 9 Estimate £2,000,000
High quality building materials required due to policy imperatives for greenbelt 10 FC estimate £900,000
Sustainable drainage system 11
(North Haugh already has this in place)

Estimate  £1,900,000
Diversion of right of way/core path 12
Estimate  £40,000
New road and utilities to service school 13 FC Estimate £1,750,000
Alterations to A915 and John Knox roundabout 14
Estimate  £1,700,000
Indicative Total

These figures last updated 3 October 2013


With a fixed budget, all exceptional costs will result in the reduction of the funds available for education provision. These exceptional costs have been calculated as follows:

1. Based on figures produced for Fife Council on 27th October 2011 for potential Station Park site where cost of excavation was £42 per cubic metre, including cartage. It is presumed that excavation on the Pipeland site will require the excavation of a minimum of 33,954 m3 of spoil and also involve cartage as substrate is boulder clay and rock, which would involve removal of some soil and replacement by free draining soil for all weather sports use.
2. Three alternative designs for the school are incorporated in the planning application. These involve various degrees of “burying” the school into the hillside by the excavation of soil and rock, infilling and tanking. There is a direct relationship between the height of the school building projecting above ground level and its environmental/landscape impact. Because of the sensitivity of this area in the Green Belt and the landscape assessment carried out by Alison Grant on behalf of Fife Council, together with the DPEA Reporter's decision following the Examination of the Local Plan, that any building on this side would be extremely damaging to the landscape setting of the town, we have assumed that building if allowed at all would require to be as inconspicuous as possible. Accordingly we have assessed the cost of these works at the higher end of the scale of possible costs.
3. The car/bus park will require significant leveling and this may be an underestimate.
4. Estimated sum. Valuation of agricultural land on this site received a premium of approximately 10X due to its description by the Council as developable land. If applied to this facility, this cost could be increased.
5. Estimate. Amount could be reduced if stone reused in construction of school or sold.
6. Fife Council’s own preliminary estimate.
7. Presumption made that reinstatement of the gas main would be equally costly. However, the greater length required because of the diverted route is likely to mean that this is an underestimate.
8. An alternative would be the purchase of this private dwelling, which could add an additional £200,000 to the cost.
9.  It is assumed that architects/ project management costs would be calculated on the basis of 10% of the total capital cost of the project. The amount of £2m (excess over an existing design being built on a level non-green belt site) is based on an assessment that a current “state of the art” design such as Dunfermline High school could not be built on this significantly sloping site and the knowledge that a special design treatment is a policy requirement for this prominent Green Belt site.
10. Based on Fife Council calculation for Station Park site 27th October 2011.
11. The Sustainable Drainage System (SUDS) proposed in the Planning Application is a complex and extensive network of pipes and underground storage tank. On a field already susceptible to flooding, the radical earthworks and quarrying required to accommodate the school and sports pitches on a sloping site will increase the flooding risk. The restricted space available for storage of surface run-off requires the installation of a below ground storage tank. Failure of this system would increase the flooding risk for houses in Scooniehill Road. Accordingly, there is a proposal for the installation of an increased capacity pipe discharging into the Kinness Burn at the bottom of Pipeland Road. These will be expensive works, which given the expected increase in the incidence of exceptional weather events, may yet prove inadequate.
12. Not regarded by Fife Council as necessary, but Core Path legislation strongly supports separation of core paths and school environs.
13. Source: briefing note to Alex Rowley 12th September 2011. Mid point of estimate made by Arup Engineering Consultants. Note that Planning in Principle Application – transportation study additionally requires major alterations to John Knox Road roundabout if major tailbacks of up to 90 cars are to be avoided at peak times.
14. The Planning Application notes that the present road configuration will cause tailbacks of up to 90 vehicles on John Knox Road at peak times. In order to reduce this congestion, alterations will be required to the A915 and the John Knox Road roundabout. Even these changes will not deal with safety issues for pupils and more expense will be required to ensure safe routes to school. We consider this costing to be at the lower end of the scale required to reduce traffic congestion in the vicinity of the Community hospital where ready access for patients, ambulances etc. is required, and to minimise safety risks for pupils, a matter not addressed in the Planning Application.

These figures are the based on the best information available to the Campaign at the present time. We expect to be able to update them as more information emerges. They should therefore be regarded as provisional and subject to revision.

These assessed exceptional costs, which have so far not been disputed by Fife Council, are in excess of the so-called but unsubstantiated "exceptional costs" alleged to be involved in building on the North Haugh where many University buildings have been completed without encountering significant difficulties.