News Release: Big Brother winner backs Save Meadowbank Campaign

Celebrity Big Brother Highjack winner John Loughton is backing the campaign to save Meadowbank Stadium from demolition.

The 21 year old lives in Scotland’s capital and is standing for election to the City of Edinburgh Council as an independent candidate in a forthcoming by-election. He says he is happy to support the campaign to save a hugely popular sports facility.

He said: “No-one should ever under estimate or devalue the importance of OUR local, grassroots facilities and buildings. Plans of development, ‘modernisation’ or in worst case situations demolition should always have the provision for local people and the opportunities for the wider community as top priority – not any political, financial or private interest.

“Meadowbank stadium is no different and if the unwanted sledgehammer plans are approved, we will play witness to a decision which serves purely private interests and blatantly ignores not only the desires and requirements of local people, but ignores the voice of thousands of people.

“City of Edinburgh Council, I plee to you to listen to the people, the people who elected you and ensure not only democracy is served, but that ultimately our great stadium is saved!”

John is just the latest to sing the praises of the international sports centre, which hosted the Commonwealth Games in both 1970 and 1986. The city’s Lib Dem/SNP administration, backed by the Tories, have voted to demolish the hugely popular Council-run site. They want to replace it with housing and a scaled-down leisure centre that will lack almost two thirds of the existing facilities.

Thousands have lodged objections with the Council and a high profile campaign to save the site has attracted support from many local personalities including The Proclaimers, Radio One DJ Edith Bowman, X factor winner Leon Jackson and triple Olympic gold medallist Chris Hoy, who recently fronted a campaign video.

“It’s high time the Lib Dem/SNP administration listened to what people are telling them,” said Save Meadowbank spokesman Kevin Connor. “Our campaign has been backed by people all over the world, from the Cayman Islands to New Zealand.

“Elite athletes realise its importance. Those who coach there think it must be saved. People from all over Edinburgh and beyond want to keep the site. Meadowbank is an iconic site synonymous with sport and we should be doing all we can to retain our facilities.”

News Release: Karate faces the chop if Meadowbank plans proceed

The Commonwealth Karate championships 2008 was held at Meadowbank

The Commonwealth Karate championships 2008 was held at Meadowbank

Karate would be seriously affected if Edinburgh Council proceeds with its plan to downsize Meadowbank Stadium, according to the Director of sport for the Scottish Karate Governing Body.

Hamish Adam has been a Karate coach for 40 years and has been based in Meadowbank Stadium since it opened. As well as running his own club at the stadium, he has been involved in Karate at all levels from teaching five year old children to coaching European and World champions.

He was a member of the British team that won the World championships in 1975, when they also became the first team ever to defeat Japan. On retiring from competition he held the position of National coach for 15 years.

He said: “Meadowbank Stadium is a very important venue for Scottish Karate. Not only at grass roots level but also for our elite athletes from all over Scotland. Scottish Karate use the stadium for all our competition events as well as the venue for our elite athlete training. Only three months ago we held the Commonwealth Karate championships, the most successful Karate event ever held in the U.K. Around 2000 Karate students of all ages and standards, from children to elite athletes, competed in this two day event. South Africa alone had over two hundred participants.

“As Director of sport for Scottish Karate I feel that not only will the downsizing of Meadowbank have a detrimental effect on Karate in the Edinburgh area, but on the whole of Scottish Karate, as it has been the centre most used by us since it opened.

“Although practised worldwide, Karate is not yet an Olympic sport but we are in discussion with the Olympic committee and are lobbying for its inclusion as a demonstration sport for 2012.

“Karate is considered to be one of the best all round sports for children because it builds confidence, discipline and all round general fitness. The coaches at Meadowbank over the years have taken children from as young as five and brought them to a level where they have eventually represented Scotland at international level, winning European and World titles. I think that the plans put forward for the intended changes at Meadowbank would seriously affect Scottish Karate and the plans we have for the future of the sport.”

Save Meadowbank spokesman Kevin Connor commented: “Karate is one of many sports that have been overlooked by the Council in its haste to sell the land. We call upon the Lib Dem/SNP administration to listen to what thousands have been saying and retain the facilities.”

News Release: Council head misses second Meadowbank deadline in successive days

A senior Council official charged with delivering a scaled down sports centre at Meadowbank has angered Northfield/Willowbrae Community Council by failing to attend a meeting at which she was to be the guest speaker.
 
Stephanie-Anne Harris, Head of Sport at The City of Edinburgh Council, had been due to attend last night’s meeting at Northfield Community Centre. It was to be the second event in her ‘tour’ of local Community Councils but she called off at short notice.
 
This was the second missed deadline in as many days for Ms Harris because she also failed to provide a detailed technical appraisal for her employers to debate this week in the City Chambers. And she used this failure as the reason for cancelling her appearance in front of community councillors.
 
Community Council secretary Stewart Kerr explained he had received an e-mail from Ms Harris in which she said the full Council would now discuss her report in November and she offered to attend the next Community Council meeting instead.
 
“Unfortunately our next meeting won’t be until 17 December, which will be after Edinburgh Council has debated the report,” the secretary explained. “We will be writing to Ms Harris to complain about her non-attendance.”
 
The meeting offered its continued support to the campaign to save Meadowbank from closure. “We are willing to fight on to save all of Meadowbank, not just two thirds of it,” said Mr Kerr.
 
Northfield/Willowbrae is just one of many Community Councils in the Edinburgh area who have publicly objected to the Lib Dem/SNP coalition’s plan, which is also supported by the Tories, to downsize the popular sports facility and sell much of the site for housing. 
 
“Only last month Ms Harris attended a Craigentinny/Meadowbank Community Council meeting and reiterated her report would be available on Edinburgh Council’s website seven days before it went before the Council meeting on 16 October,” said Save Meadowbank spokesman Kevin Connor.
 
“She has failed to meet a deadline to prepare a technical appraisal and used that failure as a reason for not keeping her word to meet with a community council. This is yet another sign of how the Council is failing to consult about sports provision for the nation’s capital city.”
 
Thousands have objected to Edinburgh Council’s plan, which will affect dozens of sports. A high-profile campaign to save the landmark site has attracted support from many local personalities, including triple Olympic medallist Chris Hoy who fronted a campaign video.

News Release: Council misses its own deadline for Meadowbank report

A key deadline in the fate of Meadowbank Stadium has been missed by its owners, the City of Edinburgh Council.

In March the Council’s Lib Dem/SNP coalition, supported by the Tories, decided to downsize the popular sports facility and sell much of the site for housing. Officials were given five months to put “a fully costed plan” before the Council yet the agenda for this Thursday’s full Council meeting fails to mention Meadowbank.

Stephanie-Anne Harris, the Council’s Head of Sport, is the senior official responsible for delivering a scaled down sports centre. Only last month she met with local residents at a Craigentinny/Meadowbank Community Council meeting and reiterated the key dates. She told the meeting her report, which would outline results of a technical appraisal, was still on schedule. She said the report would be available on Edinburgh Council’s website seven days before it went before the Council meeting on 16 October.

Thousands have objected to the Council’s plan, which will affect dozens of sports. A high-profile campaign to save the landmark site has attracted support from many local personalities, including triple Olympic medallist Chris Hoy who fronted a campaign video.

Campaigners have criticised the Council for this latest delay. “Stephanie-Anne Harris was quite clear a month ago when she said her report would be delivered on time,” said spokesman Kevin Connor.

“She should have completed her technical appraisal by now. This delay is yet another sign of the Council being unable to deliver in terms of sports provision for the nation’s capital city.”

News Release: Future star adds his voice to Save Meadowbank Campaign

Callum Skinner

Callum Skinner

The inaugural winner of the Chris Hoy trophy today added his voice to the campaign to save Meadowbank.

Callum Skinner is a highly talented cyclist who rides for the Meadowbank-based City of Edinburgh club. He is only 16 but has already excelled in both sprint and long-distance competition. His coaches hope he will get a place on the prestigious Olympic Development Programme and represent his country at future Commonwealth and Olympic Games. Yesterday he was the first recipient of the Chris Hoy Trophy, a new award to honour promising young cyclists in the east of Scotland.

“We need a replacement track cycle facility in Edinburgh,” said the James Gillespie’s High pupil. “The existing track might be worn but to demolish it and not have a replacement would be a great mistake. It would cost the cycling community in Edinburgh and mean we fail to pick up new track riders.”

He also emphasised the benefit of having the cycle track alongside other sport facilities. “I used to play squash at Meadowbank and I do think it’s located in a fantastic part of the city. If we lose what we’ve got then Meadowbank will become a deprived area in terms of sports facilities.”

Allister Watson, his former coach and a director of Scottish Cycling, said: “Callum is the latest in a long list of cyclists who have graduated from the Meadowbank velodrome. We need to keep a track cycling facility so as future generations can get the same chance.¨

Save Meadowbank spokesman Kevin Connor added: “Chris Hoy made very valid points when he called for the Meadowbank velodrome to be saved. The same arguments apply for all the sports that currently take place at Meadowbank.

“We call upon the Lib Dem/SNP administration to show leadership, listen to what thousands of people are saying and retain ALL the facilities at Meadowbank, not just a few of them.”

News Release: Talent show winner Leon Jackson “could not live without” Meadowbank

Leon Jackson could not live without Meadowbank

Leon Jackson

X Factor winner Leon Jackson says he “could not live without” closure threatened Meadowbank Stadium.

The West Lothian teenager, who found national fame last year when he won ITV talent show X Factor, made his admission in a local newspaper. When asked to name three regular haunts in Edinburgh that he could not live without, he named Meadowbank Stadium first, followed by Edinburgh Castle and Princes Street.

He said: “Meadowbank Stadium. I used to train for karate there. Edinburgh Castle is really pretty and whenever I see a picture of it, it reminds me of home. Princes Street is also somewhere I couldn’t live without – the shops are brilliant. I love shopping there.”

Leon, who has a karate black belt, is just the latest to sing the praises of the international sports centre, which hosted the Commonwealth Games in both 1970 and 1986. The city’s Lib Dem/SNP administration, backed by the Tories, have voted to demolish the hugely popular Council-run site. They want to replace it with housing and a scaled-down leisure centre that will lack almost two thirds of the existing facilities.

Thousands have lodged objections with the Council and a high profile campaign to save the site has attracted support from many local personalities including The Proclaimers, Radio One DJ Edith Bowman and triple Olympic gold medallist Chris Hoy, who recently fronted a campaign video.

“It’s high time the Lib Dem/SNP administration listened to what people are telling them,” said Save Meadowbank spokesman Kevin Connor. “Our campaign has been backed by people all over the world, from the Cayman Islands to New Zealand.

“Elite athletes realise its importance. Those who coach there think it must be saved. People from all over Edinburgh and beyond want to keep the site. Meadowbank is an iconic site synonymous with sport and we should be doing all we can to retain our facilities.”