founded by Dr Bell in 1833, pioneered a new concept of education which was
widely admired by educators in Scotland and wider afield.
The New Madras should be planned with equal
foresight and ambition to provide a school fit for education in the 21st
We identify below a set of
principles which should guide decisions in planning the new school.
- It should be equally accessible to all
pupils in its catchment area and enable all parents to have easy contact
with teaching and support staff;
- It should be located so as to encourage
community use and provide for citizens of all ages and income levels;
- In order to provide the widest access to
learning resources and build on existing links with the University, it
should be within easy reach of these facilities;
- It should provide an environment, both
within and outwith the building which will encourage pupils to
participate in learning;
- In order to encourage sport and physical
activity it should have sports provision of the highest standard
utilising current outdoor sports facilities in order to make economical
use of the scarce land resources in St Andrews;
- As a contribution to tackling global warming
and climate change, it should have impeccable green credentials and
reduce rather than increase damage to the environment.
Why is building at
Pipeland not the answer?
The proposal for a new school at Pipeland Farm fails to meet most of the
principles identified above. It is situated on the wrong side of the town
for two thirds of its pupils who have by far the longest travel times.
Public transport links are relatively limited and increased car use would
be inevitable. Many potential community users without cars would be denied
The school day for pupils would be needlessly extended and their ability
to participate in extra-curricular activities curtailed. Children from the
Taybridgehead area attending for routine medical or dental appointments
are likely to miss a full day of schooling. Continued dependence on
special buses, currently costing almost £1million a year, would waste
scarce funds that could otherwise be used for educational purposes.
A school here would not be co-located with other educational resources but
with a supermarket and a hospital.
Seventy two unnecessary bus trips each day through the town traffic would
contribute to traffic congestion and produce 1000 tonnes of carbon and
dangerous particulate emissions each year.
Panoramic view of the southern hillside
If built here the school would occupy a substantial part of the town’s
newly established Green Belt and damage the landscape in an area that
Government Reporters as recently as 2012 have specifically said, for
environmental reasons, should not be built upon. The proposal to build a
school on this site is contrary to Fife Council’s own planning policy, is
likely to cause serious delays in decision making and could halt the
process altogether. The Local Plan was adopted on 5th October 2012,
confirming the Green Belt and the statutory Green Belt policy. Fife
Council has little option to depart from this Adopted Plan and the
Reporters' 740-page decision.
The Pipeland site is owned by the Muir Group, who
have been trying to develop the southern hillside for nearly 20 years. lf
the school were to be built on this site, it is almost inevitable that
housing would follow, and that the southern hillside and our new Green
Belt would be lost.
A decision to build here is not in the jurisdiction of Fife Council as it
would probably be referred to the Scottish Government as being contrary to
planning policy. Construction on this sloping site has never been properly
costed and may prove prohibitively expensive. Local traffic congestion
around the community hospital, especially in the morning, is inevitable.
What might be
the Council’s alternative proposal?
It has been suggested that if Pipeland failed to materialise the Council
might be inclined to reactivate the discredited Kilrymont option which
was their preferred solution during the first educational consultation.
This site shares the inaccessibility and many other drawbacks noted above.
In addition it would involve costly temporary facilities for pupils as
they were decanted to the South Street building for an extended period.
Conditions here would inevitably be sub-optimal for the pupils unlucky
enough to experience this and outdoor sport would involve further bussing.
It is considered that this is too high a price to pay for a school which
would meet so few of the principles outlined at the beginning of this
leaflet. We believe this would be the worst of all possible solutions and
should not be contemplated.
Is there a
Most people agree that the school should ideally be situated on the
western side of town. An available site at the western end of the North Haugh Education Campus has none of the disadvantages described above. It
is specifically zoned in the Council’s Adopted Local Plan, endorsed by the
Scottish Government, for a replacement Madras school and would not meet
any planning obstacles.
Aerial view of the 'Pond Site' and North Haugh
Known locally as the “pond site” it has a location which would allow
significant numbers of pupils flexible use of service buses which have a
daytime frequency of ten minutes, pupils from the Taybridge area (where a
“park and choose” interchange is to be created) would have an average
journey time of twenty minutes. Pupils from Guardbridge and Leuchars would
have the option of cycling to school along a dedicated, safe cycle track.
Community Use would be encouraged by easy accessibility for people without
savings could be made in the education travel budget and a greener carbon
footprint would be achieved.
A school built here would require less land than a school elsewhere as it
would be located adjacent to its own extensive sports ground at Station
Park. The possibility of educational linkages with university teaching
faculties would be greatly enhanced..
Alleged exceptional costs for building here have been greatly exaggerated,
based on a report from a south of England firm which never visited the
site. A local technical assessment sponsored by the authors of this
leaflet which involved a site visit revealed no special problems.
You can view the assessment
There has been great resistance from the Council to actively assess and
pursue this clearly superior option. The reason for this has never been