A ringing endorsement has been given by the public for the replacement of Madras College at Langlands.
Consultation conducted by Fife Council saw 98% of respondents backing the construction of a new secondary school on land by the University of St Andrews’ playing fields.
St Andrews councillor Brian Thomson said he hoped the results indicated the green light would be given without a hitch and the £40 million school built as soon as possible.
However, he voiced frustration that it could take more than a year for planning consent to be issued.
As the site is located in the St Andrews West expansion zone, planning processes for the school, mixed use development and road serving both are linked.
Mr Thomson said: “The result of the education consultation — a phenomenal 98% backing the proposal — sends out a clear message from the St Andrews and wider Madras College catchment community that it’s fully behind building a new school at the Langlands site.
“From reading the comments from consultees, another key and unsurprising message is that the council should now get on with building the school.
“With that in mind, it’s extremely frustrating that for planning policy reasons a planning application for the proposed new school cannot be determined until after a planning application for St Andrews West has been determined, and we’re possibly looking at planning permission not being approved for at least a year from now.
“Given the history of the school project and the high level of objections to many developments in St Andrews, the cautious approach being adopted by the council is understandable.
“However, the extremely positive result of the education consultation is hopefully an indication that a planning application will generally be supported, and no unnecessary delays will get in the way of the desperately needed new school being delivered within the shortest timescale possible.”
Consultation events were staged in March, May, June and August and some 322 written responses were submitted.
Overall, 315 were in support of the school being built at Langlands and six against.
The report stated that if approval is given for the site, the construction team will be in a position to start work for relocation to the new school during the 2020/21 academic year.
It also said: “As the proposed Langlands site forms part of the St Andrews West strategic development area, and as it is an un-serviced site, it requires to be developed with an access from a road to be built through the strategic development area.
“The planning processes for the masterplan area, school and access road can run concurrently.
“A detailed planning application for the proposed new school is due to be submitted in the autumn of 2017.”