News Release: Third Community Council opposes Meadowbank plan

Chris Hoy - Gold medal winner who developed his sporting talent at MeadowbankA third community council has voiced its disagreement with Edinburgh Council’s plan to demolish Meadowbank Stadium and replace it with a scaled down sports centre.

Robert Gatliff, chair of Portobello Community Council, said: “We are opposed to the loss of any sporting facilities at Meadowbank. It should be improved not reduced so we can win more medals at cycling and other sports.”

Craigentinny/Meadowbank and Northfield/Willowbrae Community Councils have already called on the plan to be reviewed. Save Meadowbank spokesman Kevin Connor welcomed this latest backing. He said: “Edinburgh Council needs to reconsider its current plan for Meadowbank because last month it approved a report that indicates about two thirds of sporting facilities will be lost to make way for a housing development.”

When its gone its gone – The fight to save Meadowbank

News Release: Meadowbank track must not be moved

Meadowbank trackPlans to move Meadowbank’s famous running track are seriously flawed, according to senior athletics coach Bill Walker.

Walker, who has coached several Olympic and Commonwealth medallists, says any track at Meadowbank has to be in its current position.

“Athletes will only be able to use the track if it is fit for purpose,” he explains. “Moving it to another part of the site would be unwise because of the prevailing wind, which is normally westerly and funnelled between Carlton Hill and Arthur’s Seat.”

Council officials have suggested moving the track to the area where the cycling velodrome currently stands. But Walker says that is a non-starter because of its proximity to the main East Coast railway line.

The track has to stay where it is or will end up with a facility that won’t be suitable for serious competition.”

Last month Mr Walker revealed it will cost ten times more to move the track to a new location instead of resurfacing the existing facility.

“This is another example of how flawed last month’s report to Edinburgh Council was,” said Save Meadowbank spokesman Kevin Connor.

“Edinburgh Council needs to reconsider its current plan for Meadowbank because it has approved a report that indicates about two thirds of sporting facilities will be lost to make way for a housing development. At a time when Scotland and the UK is set to host the Commonwealth and Olympic games, it is clear that Meadowbank needs upgraded, not sold off and downsized.”

News Release: MSPs call for Edinburgh to retain its cycle track

Chris Hoy riding at MeadowbankThirteen MSPs have already put their name to a motion congratulating Chris Hoy on his recent performances at the World Cycling Championship in Manchester and calling on Edinburgh Council to retain a cycle track in Scotland’s capital city.
 
Hoy won two individual Gold and one team Silver medal to take his tally of Olympic and World Championship medals to an incredible total of 20. That at a time when Edinburgh Council plans to demolish the Meadowbank velodrome where Chris and many others learnt their skills, with only the promise of talks about a possible replacement.
 
“Edinburgh should honour his achievements by providing and enhancing track cycling facilities in the capital,” said Green MSP Robin Harper, who proposed the motion. Harper also highlighted “the important role that the velodrome at Meadowbank Stadium played in Chris Hoy’s development as a track cyclist” and noted “that without the provision of a track cycling facility in the city many would lose the opportunity of involvement in one of Scotland’s most successful sports.”
 
Harper’s motion has been supported by MSPs of all parties. Sarah Boyack (Edinburgh Central), Mary Mulligan (Linlithgow) and George Foulkes (Lothians list) have all put their names to it.

Allister Watson, who is the East of Scotland Cycling Association track secretary and a director on the board of Scottish Cycling, commented: “If Meadowbank was to be demolished, the loss of the velodrome would leave Scotland with out the only track facility that has provided a significant level of competitive success on the international stage over the last 25 years.

“We know it takes at least eight to ten years to develop young athletes into medal winners. With the prospect of no other Scottish track until early 2012, any chance of Scottish medals in the 2014 Commonwealth Games will be severely limited.

“During the initial sessions at the velodrome there has been alarm from parents and youngsters that their track is going to be taken away with out any discussion as to what will take its place.

“If the young riders in Edinburgh loose their track, they will drift away to other sports or, worse still, to no sport at all.”

Save Meadowbank spokesman Kevin Connor added: “MSPs from the Highlands and Islands to Dumfries have supported Chris Hoy, and recognise the need for the provision of cycling facilities in Scotland’s capital.

“Edinburgh Council needs to reconsider its current plan for Meadowbank because last month it approved a report that indicates about two thirds of sporting facilities will be lost to make way for a housing development. At a time when Scotland and the UK is set to host the Commonwealth and Olympic games, it is clear that Meadowbank needs upgraded, not sold off and downsized.”

Read related article.

News Release: Second Community Council calls for Meadowbank review

A second Community Council has called on Edinburgh Council to reconsider its plan to demolish Meadowbank Stadium and replace it with a scaled down sports centre.

Northfield/Willowbrae Community Council met last week and decided to support the on-going Save Meadowbank campaign.

Stewart Kerr, Community Council secretary, said: “Councillors of all parties must put the needs of the citizens of Edinburgh first before pandering to property developers. The Northfield/Willowbrae Community Council fully supports the campaign to Save Meadowbank.”

Craigentinny/Meadowbank Community Council has already called on the plan to be reviewed. Save Meadowbank spokesman Kevin Connor welcomed this latest backing. He said: “Edinburgh Council needs to reconsider its current plan for Meadowbank because last month it approved a report that indicates about two thirds of sporting facilities will be lost to make way for a housing development.”

News Release: Councillors under fire for breaking pre-election promises

Councillors have come under fire for breaking pre-election promises not to reduce sports facilities at Meadowbank.

Last month Edinburgh Council voted to sell at least one third of the land at Meadowbank for housing and build a scalled-down sports centre which will not contain two thirds of the existing facilities.

“This is precisely the opposite of what candidates promised pre-election”, said Save Meadowbank spokesperson Chris Gallacher.

Last year SNP Councillor Stefan Tymkewycz issued a joint statement with local MSP Kenny MacAskill that criticised Labour for reducing facilities. The statement read: “What we need is more public facilities not less … The local SNP totally disagree with the policy of selling our public spaces. If we lose more of our parks and open spaces for housing or other development they will be lost to us forever. We will continue the campaign to maintain our public facilities. They must be preserved for the use of all the community.”

Stefan Tymkewycz also sent an e-mail exactly one year ago when he pledged to “retain quality facilities covering all pursuits catered for at Meadowabnk (sic) presently”.

Campaigers think councillor Tymkewycz has gone back on his word. “When in power he did the exact opposite because the proposal he supported at the recent council meeting will mean the loss of almost two thirds of the existing facilities,” explained Chris Gallacher.

The Lib Dems have come under fire for going back on their word not to sell land at Meadowbank Stadium for housing.

Several Lib Dem councillors also pledged their full support for the Save Meadowbank campaign prior to last year’s election. Elaine Morris, now Councillor for Forth ward, was one of those whose election campaign included a pledge not to sell land at Meadowbank.

On 11 April 2007 she wrote a letter to one of her constituents in which she said: “The Lib Dem position on the refurbishment of Meadowbank is unequivocal. Our priority is to keep Meadowbank open and to maintain an athletics track in the stadium. We do not support the sale of the site for housing.” Last month Councillor Morris joined all but one of her Lib Dems colleagues in voting to sell at least one third of the Meadowbank site for housing.

Alyson Cameron of Trinity Community Council showed this letter to councillors before they voted. She said: “We deserve a Council which will fight for Edinburgh, keep the whole Meadowbank site and give us sports facilities we and especially our young people deserve.

“We deserve a Council which will keep its promises, not just throw them overboard at the first sign of difficulty.”

Pre-election communication issued jointly by Stefan Tymkewycz and Kenny MacAskill:

“Do you want to live in a concrete jungle?

Over the past few years the Labour run council have sold off too many of our public facilities. Lost forever the playing fields at Hawkhill, the allotments at Abbeyhill and part of Lochend Park is now being built on. Unless they are stopped we face the further loss of Meadowbank Stadium and possibly the golf course at Portobello Public Park.

Our recent campaign to preserve our local playing fields and facilities has received overwhelming support. We had a great response and it is clear that the residents of the east of Edinburgh understand much better than the council the need to preserve our sports facilities and open spaces.

What we need is more public facilities not less. If we want to solve the problems of vandalism, anti-social behaviour and the growing level of obesity in our children, then we have to give our young people the opportunity to get involved in sport or other worthwhile activities. We need to increase the recreational facilities in our ever-expanding city for all residents, young and old, and allow them some choice of how they spend their free time.

The local SNP totally disagree with the policy of selling our public spaces. If we lose more of our parks and open spaces for housing or other development they will be lost to us forever. We will continue the campaign to maintain our public facilities. They must be preserved for the use of all the community.

Yours sincerely
Stefan Tymkewycz
Kenny MacAskill MSP”

News Release: Community Council objects to Meadowbank plan

Meadowbank’s local Community Council is to object to the decision to significantly downsize Meadowbank Stadium and sell much of the site for housing.

Craigentinny/Meadowbank Community Council last night devoted most of its monthly meeting to the topic and was highly critical of the plan.

“Edinburgh Council’s decision is completely at odds with what the public want,” said Community Council chairman Giacomo Modica. “It will mean the loss of almost two thirds of the existing facilities. We need more facilities, not less.”

Mr Modica said Edinburgh Council had made their decision without adequate consultation. “No community council has been contacted. Our last involvement was the series of summer workshops which produced a report that reflected only the chairman’s view, not the view of the vast majority of its members.”

Mr Modica praised Lib Dem councillor Gary Peacock for voting against his party. He called on other councillors to reconsider their decision and listen to what the public have been telling them.

The meeting gave its full backing to the Save Meadowbank campaign. “We welcome this support and the many positive suggestions that were made at the meeting,” said campaign spokesman Aaron Lowe.

Read published article on the BBC.