Meadowbank plan has “potential to affect” Holyrood Park, according to Historic Scotland

Historic Scotland has joined the debate on Edinburgh Council’s controversial plan to demolish Meadowbank Stadium and replace it with a cut-down sports centre and hundreds of flats by saying the plan has “the potential to affect” neighbouring Holyrood Park.

The Government agency made this statement in a response to two planning applications which are due to be decided by Edinburgh Council’s Planning Committee in late June.

“We have assessed it for our historic environment interests and consider that the proposals have the potential to affect the following,” said the agency before naming Holyrood Park which it describes as a Scheduled Monument.

The unsigned electronic document, which has been published on Edinburgh Council’s planning portal, tells the Council: “You should also seek advice from your archaeology and conservation service for matters including unscheduled archaeology and category B and C-listed buildings.

“We have considered the information received and do not have any comments to make on the proposals. Our decision not to provide comments should not be taken as our support for the proposals. This application should be determined in accordance with national and local policy on development affecting the historic environment, together with related policy guidance.”

Edinburgh Council’s planning portal also shows the effect 12 storey buildings on the Meadowbank site would have on the view from Holyrood Park. The open view looking eastwards along Meadowbank Terrace would be replaced with multiple high rise buildings.

“This is just one more reason for Councillors to reconsider this controversial development,” said Save Meadowbank spokesperson Linda Furley.

“Hundreds have attended public meetings including one where just ONE person showed support for the plans.

“Thousands more have signed petitions and the Council’s own website shows the plan to change land use is supported by less than one in seven, while the plan to downsize Meadowbank has a support rate of around one in six.

“Councillors must now look again at this controversial development and reflect on the sheer strength of opposition there is to it.”

Edinburgh Council’s planning committee is due to decide on the two planning applications for the Meadowbank site when it meets on 29 June.

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Edinburgh Leisure benefits “at the expense of sports facilities” in mini Meadowbank

Edinburgh Leisure has the most to gain from Edinburgh Council’s controversial plan to downsize Meadowbank Stadium, according to campaigners.

The arms-length private company, currently based in Sighthill, has been allocated an entire floor for its headquarters within the cut-down sports centre.

“While over 40% of the existing facilities are due to go, Edinburgh Leisure has negotiated premium office space to benefit itself rather than the wider public it is supposed to serve,” said Save Meadowbank campaigner Linda Furley. “An entire floor in the new complex will be dead to active sport.

“The current site has five lounges each capable of hosting large-scale meetings. This will drop to just one small meeting room for the public plus a similarly sized ‘parents’ room as part of the Council’s plans for a mini-Meadowbank. Yet Edinburgh Leisure is being given five meeting rooms all to itself. It will also have a staff rest area the same size as the public café.

“When the campaign group met last week with Edinburgh Leisure Chief Executive June Peebles she confirmed a headcount of 90 will be based at the HQ although she added a number of them are mobile so will not spend all their time at Meadowbank.

“She also told us Edinburgh Leisure has reserved 24 of the parking spaces at the new Meadowbank complex. Given the entire parking capacity of the new site is a mere 102, that leaves even less for the general public many of whom struggled to find a space in the current car park which has 180 parking places.

“Should all her staff arrive by car for work at Meadowbank the car park would be virtually full before even one centre user arrives.

“She also confirmed to us there was nothing she could do to stop her staff filling up the car park or parking in neighbouring streets, which are already overcrowded.

“Millions of pounds of public money is being spent on office space in central Edinburgh for a private company. It is not right for the Council to prioritise an arms-length private company at the expense of sports facilities in what is meant to be its showpiece sports centre.”

“Councillors must now look again at this controversial development and reflect on the sheer strength of opposition there is to it.”

Edinburgh Council’s planning committee is due to decide on the two planning applications for the Meadowbank site when it meets on 29 June.

Free-to-use facilities not in plan for mini-Meadowbank

Free-to-use facilities are among those being lost under Edinburgh Council’s controversial plan to downsize Meadowbank Stadium and build hundreds of homes on much of the site.

“The current Stadium has an indoor free weights room and an outdoor basketball court which are both free-to-use. Neither of these facilities feature in the cut-down sports centre the Council plans to build in its place,” explained Save Meadowbank campaigner Linda Furley.

“There will also be a reduction in the number of sports halls (from 10 to 6), the number of squash courts (from 6 to 2), the number of meeting rooms (from 5 to 2) and the complete loss of facilities such as the athletics throws area and velodrome.

“Edinburgh Council’s plan will mean the loss of 15 out of 34 facilities on the current site.

“Several of the facilities that do survive the cull are smaller, such as the secondary outdoor football pitch and the main arena which will have a massive reduction in capacity from 15,000 to just 499.

“Councillors must now look again at this controversial development and reflect on the sheer strength of opposition there is to it.”

Edinburgh Council’s planning committee is due to decide on the two planning applications for the Meadowbank site when it meets on 29 June.

Support for Meadowbank plan falls to under 14%

Support has fallen for Edinburgh Council’s controversial plan to demolish Meadowbank Stadium and replace it with a cut-down sports centre and hundreds of flats.

Edinburgh Council’s planning portal originally showed just the outcome from electronic responses to two planning applications. The portal has now been updated to also include paper submissions, almost all of which were objections.

The plan to change land use was supported by just 77 out of 397 electronic respondents (or 19.3%). Only 3 out of 184 people who wrote to the Council expressed support, taking the overall number of supporters to just 80 out of 581 (or 13.8%).

The plan to downsize the sports centre showed a similar reduction in support. Support amongst those who responded online was just 85 out of 314 (or 27.1%). Only 1 out of 181 written responses supported the plan, taking the overall number of supporters to just 86 out of 495 (or 17.4%).

This means less than one in seven supported changing the land use and only around one in six supported the smaller sports centre.

“These revised figures are further proof of the widespread opposition to the Council’s plans,” said Save Meadowbank spokesperson Linda Furley

“Hundreds have attended public meetings including one where just ONE person showed support for the plans.

“Thousands more have signed petitions and the Council’s own website shows the plan to change land use is supported by less than one in seven, while the plan to downsize Meadowbank has a support rate of around one in six.

“Councillors must now look again at this controversial development and reflect on the sheer strength of opposition there is to it.”

Edinburgh Council’s planning committee is due to decide on the two planning applications for the Meadowbank site when it meets on 29 June.

Council official confirms Meadowbank will be demolished and become gap site if controversial planning application is rejected

Edinburgh Council plans to demolish Meadowbank Stadium regardless if a controversial planning application to replace it with a cut-down sports centre and hundreds of flats is rejected next month.

The decision – revealed to campaigners by a senior Council official – will create a gap site and remove any chance of the existing facilities being retained.

Two planning applications are due to be considered by Edinburgh Council at the end of June. Both have been heavily criticised at public meetings and attracted an objection rate of 80% on the Council’s own planning portal. Local politicians have accepted there were problems with the consultation process which led to calls from campaigners for the decision to be delayed.

However when Graham Croucher, the Council official tasked with managing the Meadowbank project, met with campaigners at the end of last week he informed them the current Stadium will be demolished regardless, even if the planning applications are turned down next month as campaigners expect.

“This is simply not right,” said Save Meadowbank spokesperson Linda Furley. “Hundreds of people have attended public meetings, thousands have signed petitions and the Council’s plans have a support rate of less than 20%.

“Yet despite this, we find through a Council official that the plan is for the existing Stadium to be demolished whatever happens. Making Meadowbank a gap site is simply not acceptable and a disgraceful response to a strongly-expressed public concern.

“We asked Mr Croucher who decided this and when but he said he was unable to tell us. That is also not acceptable. The public has a right to know which politician has made this decision and when. The campaign asks for urgent clarification about this from the Council.”

Edinburgh Council’s planning committee is due to decide on two planning applications for the Meadowbank site when it meets on 29 June.

Save Meadowbank Crowdfunder

We have set up an online crowdfunding page to fund the costs of printing leaflets, posters and signs. Any contributions will be hugely appreciated and put to very good use:

https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/save-meadowbank

In related news, it’s fantastic to see that the campaign is clearly having an impact:

“While the detailed sport centre planning application was due to be heard on 15 May, it now looks as if the decision will be deferred for a full hearing at the end of June so there are now two months in which further adjustments can be made.”

https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/news/opinion/john-mclellan-meadowbank-campaigners-unhappy-about-different-things-1-4730400