Council votes to downsize and sell-off.

The Council voted against public opinion and sporting good yesterday when they agreed to radically downsize Meadowbank, and to surround it with luxury flats.
“Under the plans, the 16,000 seater stadium will be replaced with a 5,000 capacity arena, and some of the land will be sold to housing developers.” See BBC Report .

“We will make these games the greatest sporting event our country has ever seen”, said Alex Salmond when Scotland won the Commonwealth Games bid.
“This is not about politicians taking glory, or about the sporting world coming to Glasgow on its own. It’s about making sure there is a lasting legacy.”

Edinburgh, however, is set to lose its own Commonwealth Games legacy. Athletes and ordinary users from across Edinburgh and beyond will find it even more difficult to access the sports facilities that improve their chances of success, general fitness, and overall health.

Edinburgh Council decided yesterday that it preferred a legacy of short-sighted downsizing and sell-off, over the public demand that Meadowbank be upgraded in its entirety and that this public land remains in public hands.

The Council have refused to consider any options that did not involve sell-off. If they can find the money for schemes the public oppose, we believe that they should make a special effort for projects that the public support.

A phased affordable upgrading of the centre is achievable should the political will exist. Commonwealth Games medallist Chris Black agrees: “If my wife asked for a new kitchen she would get it when we can afford it. If the Council was her husband they would tell her she could only get it if she sold part of her Lounge.”

The campaign continues.

Next organising meeting: Mon 17th Mar, 7.30pm. All welcome.


2 thoughts on “Council votes to downsize and sell-off.”

  1. A classic example of a short sighted municipalist decision making. The Council is in a financial hole of their own making (for which we can be confident that no Council officer or elected member will ever take responsibility) and we, the citizens, have to live with the consequences. I can’t think of a single example of when the Council has ever moved against the firm will of their officers in support of the will of the people to whom they are actually accountable. Long after the flats have gone up and the capital receipt has been banked, future generations in this city will be left with no quality athletics facility nor anything to offer the cycling community. This is a disgrace and Steve Cardownie, his colleagues and the Lib Dems should hold their heads in shame.

  2. The conventional wisdom is that the only way to finance public investment is through public sector borrowing, and that the alternative is to raise money by privatising the land through sale to developers who buy, borrow, build and bugger off.

    It isn’t.

    There is a new partnership-based legal framework – City of Glasgow already uses three – which permits a new option – the “Community Land Partnership”.

    In this model, Edinburgh does not sell the land.

    Instead, within the framework of a “CLP” a reasonable – say 2 or 3% – index-linked “Capital Rental” is paid for the use of the necessary investment. (and for those who doubt this is viable, Wessex Water sold 50 year index linked bonds last year at 1.49%, and they are less sound than a Council)

    This rental is then divided into “units” eg millionth’s – and long term investors invited to buy them.

    An amount would need to be set aside for maintenance and depreciation, but there is otherwise no need to repay the capital, because land does not depreciate.

    The outcome is a new form of “Public Equity” in Meadowbank, and the opportunity for long term investment in public assets at massively reduced cost since:

    (a) no debt is repaid;

    (b) the index-linked return may be set well below arbitrary bank rates.

    If there is a little spare land available – or ingenious architects can thing of a way to integrate housing and stadium – then, again, this should be retained in public ownership and part of the investment used to build affordable housing: the rental revenues from these will offset part of the cost of financing the Meadowbank sports development.

    So it is possible to keep all of Meadowbank in public ownership, and to allow the public to invest in it in a simple but equitable new form of “Public Equity”.

    It’s not Rocket Science

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