Investigation launched into Meadowbank land deals

Edinburgh Council’s decision to withhold information about recent land deals at Meadowbank is to be investigated by the Scottish Information Commissioner.
 
In 2004 the council decided to sell Meadowbank Stadium and turn the site into a housing estate. That decision was made in the belief that the land was council owned. Officials subsequently discovered that wasn’t the case and they then bought land without reporting it back to the full council.
 
Campaigners have discovered two land deals. In June 2005 the council bought from Reasonmutual Limited a two hectare strip for £100,000. This covered part of the grandstand, sports centre, astroturf and throwing area. The Scottish Episcopal Church has also said they are negotiating with the council over land they own. John Stuart told campaigners: “The area of ground in question represents part of the land formerly comprising Clockmill Road which was stopped up in 1968. The Church at that time owned some land bounded by the road and became owner of part of the road as a result of its stopping up.”
 
A Freedom of Information request was then lodged with the council to ask for further information. When that wasn’t forthcoming campaigners raised the matter with the Scottish Information Commissioner.
 
“The original council decision was based upon a false assumption that the Meadowbank site was in council ownership,” said Save Meadowbank spokeman Chris Gallacher. “It wasn’t. But they never came clean about it.
 
“When we discovered it they withheld information and the Scottish Information Commissioner has called for a full investigation.”
 
The Scottish Information Commissioner’s Office told campaigners: “Having considered your application, I can confirm that it is valid in terms of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002. A full investigation will now be carried out into your case.”
 
Politicians of all parties have been invited to attend a public meeting at Meadowbank Stadium on Friday 17 August at 19:00 BST. Edinburgh Council is expected to make a decision about Meadowbank when it meets the following week.

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