Call for independent examination of Madras College decision


Cllr Alex Rowley visiting the Kilrymont site of Madras College, St Andrews

 

 

Fife Labour leader Alex Rowley has called for an independent examination of the
mechanisms and processes leading the recent decision by Fife Council Education
Committee to refurbish the existing Kilrymont school building as the
replacement Madras College for St Andrews and the Tay Bridgehead area.

Mr Rowley says that the process leading up to the decision failed to take on board
any of the issues raised by parents and the wider community, misled people and
failed to answer many questions that many people had.

He said: “This was a decision to spend £40 million of taxpayers money and the
level of scrutiny was woeful, costing were inadequate, the scoring exercise was
loaded to one option only with the consultation amounting to a complete mockery
and an insult to peoples intelligence.

“As well as speaking to many people with an interest in this replacement school, my
party carried out a consultation and issued 1500 surveys in the area around
Kilrymont and South Street. We had over 200 responses with 80% of people saying
the council should take a bit more time to explore all the options further. I
was concerned that I was being told those who were vocal were a minority and I
therefore wanted to gauge public opinion. It was clear from the survey and from
speaking to people in the streets of St Andrews that the considered view was to
take the time to properly explore the options.”

Mr Rowley says that the criteria used for the scoring was skewed towards the
refurbishment option as it was the only one which could pick up points for
delivery within the 2015 timescale set out by the officials. He also argues
that the planning arguments against the other options were not tested while the
planning difficulties surrounding setting the whole school onto South Street
for two years were never considered.

He said: “Why was the refurbishment option the only option that offered a swimming
pool and then scored over the rest for having that swimming pool? The real
financial costs of the refurbishment have not been set out properly far less
the educational cost of cramping all the pupils into South Street for two
years.”

He concluded: “This decision, the lack of a robust framework through which to make
a decision, the lack of firm costings and the lack of transparency along with
the complete failure to listen to the views and concerns of parents and the
wider community is absolutely outrageous and cannot be allowed to go
unchallenged.”

The Labour leader said he would continue to take advice on how best to challenge the way this matter has been dealt with
and would work alongside the wider community to get the answers they are
looking for.

 

Note

When asked which options should the council explore further the respondents said;

Kilrymont (new build) 35% 72

Kilrymont (remodel and extend) 23.5% 48

Station Park 45% 92

Pipeland farm 51% 104

None of the above 4.9% 10

Answered
204

The Survey was carried out in the week leading up to the decision

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Post Author: alex

Alex Rowley is Fife Labour Leader and councillor for The Lochs