Edinburgh Council wanted to sell Meadowbank quickly for the maximum possible value with no suggestion of consulting the public, according to documents only released following intervention by the Scottish Information Commissioner.
The documents also suggest the Council can get away with cramming as many homes as possible into the site by building a ‘student village’ for up to 2,000 students.
Campaigners last week received two documents from Edinburgh Council. The first, a marketing report dated 19 May 2004 prepared by Cushman & Wakefield Healey & Baker, said: “(we) have been instructed to prepare a marketing report with recommendations as to the best means of disposing of Meadowbank Sports Stadium, London Road, Edinburgh. It is understood that your instructions are for us to take all necessary steps to effect any proposed disposal of the property within the shortest, reasonably practical timescale, but also maximise value”.
The second document, entitled “Meadowbank Stadium Redevelopment Opportunities” was written on 22 December 2006 by John Brown, director of DTZ Debenham Tie Leung. It estimated the value of the Meadowbank site “would be in the order of £47.5 million” and said over eight hundred homes – or “units” – could be built.
So many new homes would normally require other facilities such as car parking and school places for children. To get round this at Meadowbank, DTZ suggested the creation of a “student village” and provided hand-drawn diagrams which suggested placing this village on the eastern part of the site.
The document revealed Council officials had already rejected a suggestion of 1,000 student “units” but said “400 student units might be appropriate”. 200 student units would house 1,000 students and require just 25 car spaces. It also revealed it would cost up to £5 million to demolish Meadowbank and clear the entire site.
Edinburgh Council had originally refused to release these documents and only did so when ordered to do by the Scottish Information Commissioner.
Save Meadowbank spoksman Kevin Connor said: “These documents show Edinburgh Council had been determined to sell Meadowbank quickly with no mention whatsover of any public consultation.
“Most people could easily think of better uses for the £5 million the Council has set aside to demolish Meadowbank Sports Centre and Velodrome. £5 million could fund the first stage of a phased upgrade of the entire complex. When more money becomes available through longer-term budgeting, more work can be done to provide the kind of sports facility that its elite and non-elite users deserve.
“Edinburgh Council still proposes to sell much of the site for housing. Many people disagree with the Council including Chris Hoy, Scotland’s most successful Olympian of all-time, who supports our campaign. Like us, he wants to see the facilities at Meadowbank retained and restored.
“We urge people to sign the petition to ask the Scottish Government to provide the money to fund Meadowbank’s refurbishment.”