Sighthill stadium plans rejected

Plans for the new stadium at Sighthill were sent back to the drawing board today after protests that it would make a poor venue for rugby. Read more.

In related developments, the Liberal Democratic party indicated that it did not see the need to sell Meadowbank.

The city’s Lib Dem leader, Jenny Dawe, added: “We do not see the justification for selling off Meadowbank Stadium. The Sighthill scheme does not seem necessary and we should be looking at other ways of funding a refurbishment of the Commonwealth Pool.”


"Meadowbank has deliberately been run down"

Doug Gillan, the Herald athletics correspondant, laments City of Edinburgh Council’s, “cavalier attitude to its sporting heritage, ambivalence towards future potential, and penny-pinching policies when it comes to sustaining facilities. Read more.

Sighthill residents angered by stadium plans

“The Capital’s planned multi- million pound athletics and rugby stadium has sparked protests from residents angry it will be built on their only green space.

Community leaders said the development would “wreck” the neighbourhood and leave young people in Sighthill out in the cold.” Read more.

Plans for Sighthill Stadium unveiled

“Images of the proposed athletics and rugby arena at Sighthill were unveiled as it emerged that formal plans for the development – as well as those for an overhaul of the Commonwealth Pool – will be lodged within the next few months.

Councillors will be asked next week to support detailed plans for both projects and agree to use the proposed sell-off of Meadowbank Stadium to help meet the bulk of the £86 million cost.” Read more.

National Sports Facilities Strategy

At the Edinburgh East Local Development Committee meeting on the 23rd of Janaury 2007, the City of Edinburgh Council gave a presentation on the key points of the Meadowbank Development Brief and how it fits with the National Sports Facilities Strategy. They stressed their desire to have feedback on the proposals for Meadowbank sent to them by the March the 9th deadline.

There were a number of concerns raised by members of the public after the presentation. One of these related to 8.2 of the development brief, which states that the Meadowbank site will be marketed in early 2007, after the finalised development brief has been approved.

It was suggested that this is too soon to allow for feedback from the consultation period to be properly considered and that a revised draft should be prepared once the consultation period has ended. This should be presented to the community for further consideration before a finalised version is approved. This was supported (I think) by Cllr Ewan Aitken on the committee and added to the following committee motion.

The East Local Development Committee
• Welcomes the commitment of City of Edinburgh Council to a new local sports facility in east Edinburgh as part of the package of improving sports facilities across the city.
• Notes that this will help increase the sports facilities across the city.
• Agrees that any new facility should be in place before the present facilities are closed.
• Agrees to respond to the consultation on the planning brief expressing the view that the choice for the new sports facility should allow for it to be built before the present site facilities are closed.
• Agrees to respond to the consultation on the planning brief with respect to affordable housing on the Meadowbank site should include significant number of family houses with access to front and back gardens.
Agrees that a revised draft should be prepared once the consultation period has ended and that the revised draft should be presented to the community for further consideration before a finalised version is approved.

Cllr Lawrence Marshall objected to the motion, Cllr Marjorie Thomas said that the motion should not be accepted as more time was needed to consider the implications. (A position strongly supported by many members of the public in attendance). Cllr Ian Perry supported the motion and it was accepted by the Convener Cllr Shami Khan.

Craigentinny Community Council

At the Craigentinny Community Council meeting on the 22nd of January 2007, Alison Kirkwood and colleagues from the City of Edinburgh Council gave a presentation and answered questions on the Meadowbank Redevelopment Brief. Councillor Ewan Aitken was also present to answer questions.

The presentation gave an overview of the proposed development zones, highlighted that the plans are in draft form and that feedback submitted before the March 9th deadline will be considered before a finalised version is produced.

My impression was that the members of the community council were sceptical of the plans and very resistant to the scale of the proposed housing development.

The development proposes that the main sport and athletics facility on the East side of the city should be ‘disposed’ of in order to part finance a project to build a replacement sports facility at Sighthill, on the other side of the city.

There are a number of sports facilities already in that area of the city. The Saughton sports centre, which is home to a ‘huge range of outdoor sports’ including: four grass football pitches, five aside and seven aside football pitches on superturf, an enclosed football pitch and an athletics track, is close to Sighthill park. Craiglockhart sports centre and Meggetland playing fields are nearby and there’s also a new facility at Drumbrea.

In contrast, the redevelopment plan for Meadowbank is asking local residents and users of this facility to accept a reduction from 10 hectares of land dedicated to sport, to 0.5 hectares (to include parking and access) for a new community centre.

A quote from Bill Walker, senior coach with the City of Edinburgh Athletic Club, sums up the disappointment shared by many at these plans:

I’m extremely unhappy about what’s happening to Meadowbank. The council has deliberately run-down the facilities there to sell the site for housing, and it will be a major loss to the area when it’s gone. The west of the city has a number of facilities but there will be nothing at all in this area, which has been ideal for Meadowbank because of the close proximity of Holyrood Park.”

The Scotsman website – article 5th December 2006

Meadowbank Development Brief

The City of Edinburgh Council has recently published detailed plans to sell off the land currently occupied by Meadowbank Stadium to property developers. The plans state that housing is the most appropriate use of the land and that a ‘high density development is acceptable’.

The Meadowbank Redevelopment Brief informs us that the Council will use the money generated by the sale of Meadowbank to fund the refurbishment of the Commonwealth Pool and build new Sports facilities in the Sighthill area of the city.

There is an indication that some sports facilities will be retained at Meadowbank, but the specification for these ‘has not been agreed’.

Find out more
Tel: 0131 469 3590
Website: City of Edinburgh Council – Meadowbank Development Brief

Have your say
The deadline for commenting on the Development Brief is 9 March 2007.
Write a letter to: Head of Planning & Strategy, City Development Department, Waverley Court, 4 East Market Street, Edinburgh EH8 8BG.