Campaigners highlight £30 million “black hole” and disagreement with the chair

Campaigners today gave their reaction to Terry Christie’s report about sports facilities in Edinburgh. They highlighted the £30 million “black hole” in the council’s current plans and the fact that most of the working group – including a majority of councillors – disagreed with the chairman’s view on refurbishment.

“This report does not reflect the view of our campaign, or indeed the view of the working group itself. It is a personal report by the chairman,” said Save Meadowbank spokesman Bill Walker. “It was also produced with undue haste in order to be heard at this month’s council meeting. The working group was given inadequate time to fully consider and comment on the report prior to publication.

“We all agreed that Meadowbank is the preferred site for the council’s main dry sports arena. But the majority of the group did not agree with key conclusions and recommendations. In particular the chairman’s view on refurbishment was shared by only 5 of the group. 12 disagreed with him. We were surprised to discover that a council-convened committee can deliver a report that reflects such a minority view.

“We were pleased to find that a majority of councillors on the working group favoured refurbishment. This example of cross-party support should be applauded. We want to work with these parties to deliver sports facilities that are modern, fit for purpose and affordable.

“The working group has found a very significant “black hole” in the current plans. Even with the sale of Meadowbank, City Park and Leith Waterworld, they are still short of £30 million. The original plan was overly ambitious and needs to be scaled back to affordable levels.

“In our opinion council officials have not fully considered all options. We call on councillors to listen to the clear majority of the working group and consider all options before making a final decision.”

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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