Politicians of all parties last night agreed Edinburgh Council had to revisit its decision to demolish Meadowbank Stadium. And one senior councillor challenged SportScotland over their claim that they would have considered a proposal to refurbish the popular sports centre.
Deputy Lord Provost Steve Cardownie voted in favour of the plan to sell the Meadowbank site. But the SNP councillor said he made his decision based upon information that is now in doubt.
Speaking at a hustings event organised by the Federation of Small Businesses, Cardownie said: “The Chief Executive of SportScotland said in 2004 that refurbishment of Meadowbank would not be funded yet I read a letter at the weekend where he said they would have considered it.
“There is no alternative. We have to review this decision and go back to the start.”
Council leader Ewan Aitken didn’t want to comment on the SportScotland funding but agreed the plan had to be reviewed. Referring to the original consultation carried out by Edinburgh Leisure which omitted to ask either local residents or Stadium users, Aitken said: “I have already agreed the consultation in 2004 wasn’t what it should have been. Donald Anderson has already committed us to reviewing facilities in east Edinburgh. I am committed to that. We will be able to say something in due course.”
Gavin Corbett of the Green Party called on the council to sign up to the national standards for community engagement. “We were on the Save Meadowbank march. It’s not Meadowbank that’s past its sell by date – it’s Labour,” he added.
Tory leader Iain Whyte agreed to look again at the decision. “We will have to review it but the biggest worry is we won’t see improvements because there aren’t any funds.
“There is a fundamental issue about sports facilities in Edinburgh that have been allowed to rot.”
Liberal Democrat leader Jenny Dawe paid tribute to the Save Meadowbank campaign and said part of the funding problem would be met by her party at a national level. “The extent of the campaign has encouraged Donald Anderson and others to revisit it. When the council made its decision in 2004 there was a clause that it would be looked at again if other possible sites came up so it wasn’t a final decision.”
Edinburgh council claim they need to sell the Meadowbank site in order to refurbish the Royal Commonwealth Pool. Dawe countered this by saying: “Nicol Stephen has pledged he will fund the money for two Olympic pools in the north of Scotland and redevelop the Royal Commonwealth Pool.”