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Time to move on and get the school built

Time to move on and get the school built

Sir, After two years of public consultation, the decision to build the new Madras College at Pipeland is final. The Judicial Review has dismissed the STEPAL challenge in the strongest possible terms, validating Fife Council’s choice of site.

Over that period everyone who wished to have a say has had the opportunity to do so.

Many have used that right to the full. It is regrettable, however, that in exercising that right, it has cost the project valuable time and the opponents of the plan potentially, very significant legal costs for their challenge.

However, the time has come to move on and end this chapter with the so badly needed new school being built as quickly as modern construction techniques allow.

St Andrews and the surrounding area is fortunate to have benefitted from its history as an ancient and revered centre of education, study and research.

Madras College has been, and will continue to be, an important part of that history but it needs high class modern facilities and surroundings for its staff to offer their best and for pupils to achieve their best.

Everyone agrees on this conclusion.

Parent Voice and it’s hundreds of supporters are asking all parties to now move on, accept that the democratic and legal process is at an end and, if it is within their power or remit to do so, to do what they can to support the delivery of the new Madras College at Pipeland.

From the feedback and comments we receive, we know this to be the overwhelming views of the residents of North East Fife and, indeed, beyond.

No other position now exists for those who value our history and the education of our children.

Lisa Leitch. (On behalf of Parent Voice). Sandyhill Crescent, St Andrews.

No “inclusive process”

Sir, Pro-Pipeland protagonists naturally welcome the judicial review decision (on the process, not the site’s merits) but they really should get their facts right (report March 21).

There was no “inclusive public planning process”. Many of the public have raised numerous serious issues for more than two years, without response.

Even NE Fife Councillors were not informed of the main reason why North Haugh was “fundamentally unsuitable” (the absurd split-site definition) until they received the papers for the planning meeting on March 20 2014. That was not disclosed even at their pre-determination meeting on February 21. Inclusive?

Councillor Morrison now suggests a highly critical urban design and visual impact report was “suppressed” and withheld from councillors at the full council meeting on April 3 and the NE meeting on December 10. Inclusive?

Pro-Pipelanders cannot claim “a clear majority of NE Fife residents in favour” based on a spurious educational “take-it-or-leave-it consultation” and Saturday supermarket box-tickings, neither with any democratic or statistical validity whatsoever.

Those who are academics would surely demand significantly more intellectual rigour and conclusive evidence from students in their own disciplines!

Finally, it was the executive committee’s choice in December 2012 of a wholly-flawed site which has achieved “a divided community, huge waste of public money and a shameful waste of time for the children”.

Had the sensible choice been made, the new building would now be complete and occupied, the Kilrymont site sold for affordable and other housing, and South Street’s upgrade begun at the university’s cost without risking its educational status.

John Birkett. 12 Horseleys Park, St Andrews.

Walking on eggshells

Sir, It was clear on the Andrew Marr programme Sunday, March 22, that their constant bleating about BBC bias has interviewers walking on eggshells around the SNP.

Mr Marr’s cuddly chat with Alex Salmond contrasted hugely with the forensic examination to which Andrew Neil subjected Willie Rennie, leader of the Scottish Liberals.

I do hope plans are being made for Andrew Neil to interview senior SNP ministers as well as Natalie Bennett of the Green Party.

Donald Lewis. Pine Cottage, Gifford, East Lothian.

Have to start all over again…?

Sir, The wind farm proposition is a mare’s nest of exploitation.

Not only are the promoters and landowners getting rich at the electricity consumers’ expense, but they are undermining our continuity of power supply, wrecking the landscape, and leaving a legacy of what will eventually be rusty stumps in the ground, to be removed at further taxpayer and electricity consumers’ expense.

And then there really will be no electricity and we will have to start again and build nuclear power stations, which is what we should have been doing in the first place. The landscape damage alone is a tragedy, let alone the cost and the other downsides.

The entire project is a national disaster, in the mould and magnitude of both the South Sea Bubble of 1720, which was a gigantic fraud, and the failed East African groundnut scheme of 1947 to 1951, which was rushed into without adequate research. The similarities are striking.

Malcolm Parkin. 15 Gamekeepers Road, Kinnesswood, Kinross.

They need to think carefully

Sir, Has Alex Salmond finally lost the plot?

He is comparing himself to Nelson Mandela now while at the same time saying the stars are now in alignment for a return to Westminster and threatening to bring a revolt on a minority Conservative government, even if David Cameron gets more seats than Ed Miliband, and threatening the democracy of this country.

This kind of talk is making him look an object of ridicule and doing the Conservative Party a huge favour in England as well as potentially losing the SNP votes. I bet Nicola Sturgeon wishes this back seat driver would be quiet.

To compare himself to Nelson Mandela is grossly insulting. Mr Mandela was a great man who fought for unity and peace and displayed great humility, something Mr Salmond is clearly lacking. He wants division and power.

The people of Gordon should think carefully about who they really want representing them.

Gordon Kennedy. 117 Simpson Square, Perth.

Choirs were a joy to listen to

Sir, Tuesday morning in Dundee Caird Hall was a treat not to be missed.

The sound of children’s choirs, 16 children’s choirs, in fact, from various primary schools in Dundee was an absolute joy to hear.

The purity and variety of the songs from more traditional to Rihanna was a delight.

Full credit must go to the dedication of the music teachers and to the young people themselves who often give up part of their lunch-time to rehearse.

I would salute all you young musicians of the future.

Keep singing.

Kate Keillor. The Hollies, Bucklershead, Kellas, by Dundee.

Why still no explanation?

Sir, It’s intriguing that the Scottish Government is bringing in legislation to license air weapons which are designed to deal with vermin yet it can’t provide an explanation as to why even some rural police officers have sprouted Glock 9mm pistols.

“Save the rats and shoot the people” is an interesting approach to currying favour with the electorate.

The SNP has become adept at introducing legislation which is certain to antagonise the vast majority of the Scottish rural populace on which it has substantially relied in the past to take power at Holyrood.

No one likes being bitten by their own dog.

Andrew Duncan. South Feus, Upper Largo.