A campaign has today been launched to save Meadowbank Stadium.
Edinburgh Council plan to demolish the landmark and replace it with over eight hundred homes. Campaigners are concerned about the loss of sporting facilities and angry at the lack of consultation.
“At no time has there been any public or user consultation about selling Meadowbank,” said campaign spokesman Kevin Connor.
“Instead of asking our opinion, Edinburgh Council has issued a document stating housing is the most appropriate alternative use of the site and asking for comments on the proposed development.
“The current consultation does not extend to whether Meadowbank should be demolished. We only get to comment on their ideas for the site. Meadowbank Stadium is a major public asset and its status demands an effective consultation exercise.
“Already thousands of people have signed paper petitions. And an Internet petition to Tony Blair has attracted over 1,600 signatures.”
Bill Walker is an athletics coach who was formerly a manager at Meadowbank Stadium. He said: “I am very concerned. Meadowbank Stadium has produced many Olympic athletes and is used daily by hundreds of people from the immediate area and beyond.
“It is a long-term legacy for both the local community and the country. Yet two decades of neglect has left it needing modernisation. Money should be earmarked for its maintenance rather than its destruction. The Council state that it would not be viable to refurbish Meadowbank and has offered to provide only a small sports facility on a site that has been used for sporting purposes for generations. At a time when people are being encouraged to be fit and healthy, we don’t need our politicians selling off a prime recreational facility like this for high density housing.
“Although the Council plan to build a smaller stadium at Sighthill, it is on the other side of the city and itself involves the destruction of several playing fields, leading to a net loss in the recreational facilities available.
“There are several existing sports complexes in west Edinburgh but there would be a serious lack of facilties near the centre should Meadowbank be demolished. People would also have to travel for up to one hour longer to reach the facilities they presently use.”
“I urge people to sign the online petition at http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/Meadowbank/.”
The campaign group is apolitical and has been formed by concerned locals and sports groups. It has three aims:
-To reverse Edinburgh Council’s decision to demolish Meadowbank Stadium and sell off the cleared site to private housing developers.
-To call for refurbishment of the stadium using our public money, to specifications deemed fit by the centre’s users, local residents, and the wider public.
-To demand full and open public consultation on such major issues.
The public consultation period ends on 30 March.