It’s the saga that’s had more episodes than Star Wars, but at last it appears that a new secondary school to replace Madras College in St Andrews is on the horizon.
It didn’t quite start in a galaxy far, far away but it has been more than a decade since families were promised a new school fit for the purpose of educating youngsters in north east Fife for generations to come.
It is farcical that it has taken so long to get within sight of work potentially starting on site this spring, and the amount of public money that has been wasted on the huffing and puffing to reach this point will always constitute a sizeable blot on the pages that make up St Andrews’ story.
The division over the formerly preferred Pipeland site will still rankle, and the enforced abandonment of that particular plan will inevitably sting for some people for years to come.
While communities elsewhere in Fife have seen excellent new school buildings planned, prepped and put up in double quick time, the sorry situation in St Andrews deprived children in and around the town of similar modern surroundings for years.
However, we must be thankful that councillors have now approved the planning application for Langlands, thus ensuring younger Madras pupils and children at feeder primaries can look forward to state-of-the-art learning facilities.
That said, it was laughable to learn that 11 objections to the new-build had been lodged prior to consent being granted on Wednesday.
While I’m sure they felt it was their civic duty to mount an opposition, I personally found some of the reasons staggering.
Complaints had been made about the link road which will serve the school and its impact on the environment, even though work on said link road had already begun. Yes, a road to nowhere is absolutely what St Andrews needs.
There were also the fears about flora and fauna in the form of badgers, squirrels, birds, bats and even great crested newts — none of which were deemed to be significantly impacted.
Don’t get me wrong, if these points concern some people it’s right that they are considered. But to merit a formal objection? Hmmmm.
Now that the green light has been given, let’s all just get behind the new school and do something St Andrews isn’t particularly known for: that’s putting the past behind it.