Chris Hoy in video appeal for Meadowbank to be saved

Triple Olympic medallist Chris Hoy has given his backing to the campaign to save Meadowbank from closure.

The most successful Scottish Olympian of all time learned his craft in his home town of Edinburgh and readily admits he wouldn’t have achieved his record haul had it not been for the Meadowbank velodrome. Yet Edinburgh Council plan to ignore thousands of objections and demolish the velodrome – plus the neighbouring international athletics stadium and sports centre – and replace it with a cut-down complex that doesn’t cater for most of its current sports, including cycling.

In the video clip, produced by Edinburgh Racers, Chris Hoy said: “Elite sport cannot stand alone without local facilities giving kids the chance to get into the sport in the first place. I really hope Edinburgh is going to continue to produce world champion cyclists in the future but we cannot do this without a local facility.”

Mark Barry, director of youth racing in Manchester, added: “This is a track that has been absolutely fundamental in the success of the Great Britain cycling team. Most of our world, Olympic and European champions have come from here.”

The video highlights the lack of proper investment since the Meadowbank track was built forty years ago and the absence of a roof, which causes several events to be rained off every year.

Allister Watson, director of Scottish Cycling, made a telling comparison between Scotland’s top two medal-winning sports: “Cycling is Scotland’s second most successful Commonwealth Games sport. The most successful sport is swimming. I wonder how our swimmers would get on if there was only one swimming pool for the country and it was outside.”

Save Meadowbank spokesman Kevin Connor welcomed the video. He said: “Chris Hoy is a great role model and proof of what Meadowbank has helped achieve. Imperfect facilities are better than no facilities at all. Edinburgh Council claim they are being forced to radically downscale Meadowbank purely on financial grounds. If that is the case we call upon the Scottish Government to provide them with adequate funding.”

  • Read the Case for Grassroots Facilities
  • SMC submitted this document in response to a Dec 2007 Edinburgh Council report recommending that Councillors agree to fund a small centre by selling off a huge chunk of the Meadowbank site for housing.  Their report entirely ignored the interests of cyclists. Councillors went on to agree to the sell-off including the loss of the velodrome.
  • See this Evening News Mouthpiece article by Save Meadowbank written in the days after Edinburgh Council voted to rid Edinburgh of its velodome back in March. Significant sections were edited out by the newspaper, including the total omission of the case for the Meadowbank Velodrome. The original uncensored article can be seen here, with the censored elements in CAPITAL LETTERS.
  • SMC Organising meetings

11 Responses to “Chris Hoy in video appeal for Meadowbank to be saved”

  1. Anne Ward Says:

    The Veladrome is a National Assett, lets upgrade and keep it
    so.

  2. Fiona Stuart Says:

    could a fund be started to save the velodrome and update it? 3 million sounds good value to me.I would give money to the fund and I’m sure lots of people could do sponsored bike rides

  3. Simon Brooke Says:

    Any politician who wants to take credit for Chris Hoy’s medals also needs to take responsibility for the deaths of Jason McIntyre, Davy McCall and many others. Recovering Scotland’s roads as a safe place for Scottish athletes to train is a battle which must be fought elsewhere – but while our driving standards are in their present state, it isn’t safe for kids to train on the roads.

    We don’t just need one velodrome in Edinburgh and one in Glasgow. We’re the second most obese nation on earth. We need velodromes in every major town. But it is completely inappropriate to be downgrading Edinburgh’s – our capital city’s – and to be demolishing it altogether with no replacement in sight is scandalous.

  4. STEVEN Says:

    It is a scandal that in an age when obesity is taking over Scotlands children, that Edinburgh Council are even thinking about closing the Velodrome. The vague statement from the Council that ‘some sort of cycling facility’ will be provided as a replacement is NOT GOOD ENOUGH !
    I was at a Council Committee in March 2008 when this was discussed and all the Councillors and officials refused to state ‘track’ when looking at the options, just ‘facility’.
    And Councillor Cardownie should be ashamed of himself, he was very dismissive of track cycling facilities at the meeting, he has fair changed his mind now that there are 3 gold medals and some publicity to be gained !

  5. Mike Johnston Says:

    I now live in France but was born and raised in Edinburgh. I used to be at meadowbank so often when I lived there and I find it completely scandalous that the city council could even consider demolishing this facility. This shows how important a place that sport has been given over the years by the edinburgh city fathers – obviously not allocating sufficient funds to keep such an important sporting facility up to date. More specifically with regards to the velodrome, track riding provides a safe environment for riding a bike thus improving health and nurturing future champions. Every new velofrome that has been built recently in the world has been a huge success and track riding and racing has grown enormously.

    Do the right thing edinburgh, have the balls to change your minds : save meadowbank and its velodrome – don’t just cash in on an easy buck…

  6. Philip simmonds Says:

    a former British racing cyclist now living in France , i raced often at the Nottingham Harvey Haden velodrome track league aswell as some open events , & very populaire it was too !
    Only to here whilst on holiday over here in France from a Nottingham familly that the track had been lost because of lobying by athletics inorder to exstend a long jump track in the centre !
    i hope that your track dosn’t get the same fate as Nottinghams , it’s just very hypocryte & shamefull to think !
    British & Scotish cycling aswell WCU should hopfully be better placed for lobying the powers that be after the medal haul in the games ,power to the pedals ‘get those banners out when the Tour of Britain comes to Scotland !!!

  7. Dave M Says:

    I think it’s frankly outrageous that the council are planning to demolish Meadowbank. I would never have found out about it if it wasn’t for campaigns like this one – consultation my a__e!

    I am going to follow this up with my local councillor and advise him that I will base my vote on his response to this issue! You have to draw a line somewhere right?

    I am actually going to the velodrome tonight for the first time – very exciting!

  8. Peter Reid Says:

    When I rode at meadowbank in the late eighties City of Edinburgh were the dominant track team in the UK as they had the best facilities (meadowbank). I moved to manchester in the mid nineties and watched track cyling flourish due to the new velodrome here. It seems a clear case that if you provide the facilities the talent will dvelop, not the other way round where polititians will only provide facilities if the success is already there. If manchester can afford to completely reboard the veodrome because it was not one of the fastest in the the world anymore (it was still a dream compared to meadowbank even in the eighties) then surely money is there for saving Meadowbank.

  9. Alan Donnelly Says:

    Congratulations to Scottish politicians!

    With this decision regarding Edinburgh sporting cycling facilities (or rather, lack of….) they are excelling at plumbing the depths of stupidity to which I had previously thought only English politicians were able to reach.

  10. » Decycling Alan Coady’s Musical Blog Says:

    […] As someone who spends 5.5 hours-a-week in Meadowbank Stadium (though you’d never guess it), I know that its forthcoming diminution will affect many pupils from our schools – because I see them there. However, I hadn’t realised that young people travel from much further afield than East Lothian. Chris Hoy explains: […]

  11. frank turner Says:

    all I would like to say is leave it where it should rightfully
    be, its an icon in its own being,lots of memories to lots of people.
    we have all paid for it,in various ways,even in our rates,
    polltax and couciltax.but the greatest payment are the
    people that have succeeded by it being there,even in the old days (geoff duke). a sit down wine and dine or even more,is the norm.but you cannot get this from freedom of information best of luck frank


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