Mini Meadowbank will be ‘pale shadow’ of former self

Campaigners have today criticised Edinburgh Council’s plan to downsize Meadowbank Stadium, saying the proposed new sports centre will have over 40% less facilities than the current site.

“Meadowbank is Edinburgh’s main sports facility with over 500,000 people using it each year,” said Save Meadowbank spokesperson Linda Furley. “It is so popular sports groups struggle to obtain extended lets and occasional users have difficulty getting a booking. If that is the case with 34 facilities available, how will the proposed replacement cope when it has just 19 facilities?

“This was shown by last week’s public meeting at which just one person supported the Council’s plan to downsize Meadowbank. There simply isn’t a room in the area capable of hosting a meeting for hundreds of people. The new site will have only two small meeting rooms which won’t be able to meet the needs of the community.

“Under the Council’s plan we will lose over 40% of the existing facilities and the proposed replacement centre will be a pale shadow of its former self.”

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Meadowbank has now lost both its Meadow and its Bank

Campaigners today lamented the closure of the last bank branch within the Meadowbank area and linked it to wider issues that include Edinburgh Council’s decision to prevent public access to the landscaped open space outside the Commonwealth Stadium.

“First we lost our meadow, now we have lost our bank,” said Save Meadowbank spokesperson Linda Furley. “This is a community that is being asset stripped. It is time for people to stand up for Meadowbank.”

Earlier this year Bank of Scotland announced it was trimming its branch network, including the Piershill branch on London Road which closed today.

Last week a 2.4 metre fence around Meadowbank Stadium was completed. The fence, for which no planning permission has been granted, prevents the public from accessing a landscaped area outside the Stadium which was popular with dog walkers and used in summer for picnics and sunbathing. This site also contains a number of trees which Edinburgh Council plan to fell despite thousands of objections.

Last month two planning applications were submitted on behalf of Edinburgh Council. A proposal to change the use of the site from open space/recreation to housing/commercial attracted 397 comments on the Edinburgh Council planning portal of which only 77 (or 19.4%) were supportive. The proposal to build a smaller sports centre attracted 314 comments of which only 85 (or 27.1%) were supportive. Edinburgh Eastern MSP Ash Denham was among those who objected.

Campaign website lists concerns about the plans.