Fife Council is “scrimping” on public consultation to rush through a planning application for a new Madras College, it has been claimed.
Despite assurances the local authority has gone above and beyond what is required of them, Conservative councillor Linda Holt fears staff and pupils have not had time for detailed input into the design of the building.
With a planning application for the new secondary school at Langlands due to be submitted in September, Ms Holt fears focus groups arranged for the coming weeks are “too little, too late.”
At a full Fife Council meeting, the East Neuk councillor asked for details of the meetings that had taken place between teachers, parents and students and those designing the school
She also asked what meetings were scheduled to take place, insisting the school community should be at the heart of the design process.
Council co-leader David Ross said significant consultation had taken place over a number of years.
“We’ve consulted pupils, staff and parents on the replacement school and their aspirations for the new building,” he said.
“This included further opportunity to indicate what facilities they want to see in the new building.”
Although much of the involvement related to the now discarded Pipeland site, Mr Ross said the majority of the comments were still valid.
“To supplement that, we will be carrying out focus groups with staff before the summer holidays, including lessons learned from other new-build projects,” he said.
Ms Holt said she thought it was clear the council thought it had done all the consultation necessary.
“This completely ignores the specificities of the Langlands site as well as the fact that most of the current Madras parents and children will not have been involved in consultations on the Pipeland building four or five years ago,” she said.
“More importantly the present headmaster will not have had the opportunity for detailed and sustained input into the design of the building for the Langlands site.”
She added: “We’ve had to wait so long for what is going to be the most expensive school in Fife that it’s crucial that we take the time to get it absolutely right.
“Getting a full application in by the end of September will only be possible by scrimping on the input of the most important people in this project: the current staff, pupils and parents.”