The directors of a company set up to protect the landscape of St Andrews are “optimistic” about their chances of success after a legal challenge in Edinburgh.
St Andrews Environmental Protection Association Ltd (Stepal) chairman Mary Jack, treasurer Lindsay Matheson and secretary Sandra Thomson said they are pleased with the two-day judicial review at the Court of Session into plans for a new Madras College.
They have thanked the more than 150 donors who contributed towards their costs and the former teachers remain hopeful further donations will be forthcoming.
Stepal believes Fife Council’s decision to grant planning permission in principle for a new Madras College on greenbelt land at Pipeland was “fundamentally flawed”.
It believes the council failed to adequately consider to an option linking the university-owned North Haugh site to the council’s sports facilities at Station Park.
The local authority has, however, strongly defended itself, claiming all proper procedures were followed. It says Pipeland was the only site deemed to be deliverable, available, feasible and affordable.
The Stepal directors said: “We have not, and never have, opposed the building of a new school. Better, more suitable sites are available.
“Stepal’s argument is that Fife Council failed in its duties as a planning authority by improperly ruling out these alternative sites, in contravention of the planning acts.”
The Stepal directors also corrected a statement made this week by pro-Pipeland campaign group Parent Voice. The group claimed Stepal had been denied a protected expenses order (PEO) when, in fact, Stepal withdrew its application after agreement was reached with the council about costs should the judicial review be unsuccessful.
Stepal has the right to apply for a PEO at any point; for example, should Fife Council appeal against the decision of the court.
Lord Doherty is expected to publish his judgment within three months.