Meadowbank site removed from local plan

Edinburgh Council has been told to remove references to Meadowbank Stadium from its local plan.

Scottish Government reporters Richard Bowden and Dan Jackman made this recommendation after considering objections from over 1,700 individuals and organisations.

In their report, which has been published on the Council website, they wrote: “At this stage the plans or proposals for the Meadowbank site are not sufficiently advanced or robustly articulated within an overall sport and recreation development strategy to justify any designation or allocation to be placed on the Meadowbank site when the local plan is adopted.”

They went on to say they do not endorse a pre-inquiry change proposed by the Council. Instead, they recommend the deletion of several items relating to Meadowbank from the local plan.

Save Meadowbank campaigners today welcomed their recommendations. Kevin Connor said: “More people objected to the proposals for Meadowbank than any other item in the Edinburgh local plan. I am pleased the reporters listened to what was said and seem to have agreed with our view that the Council’s plans for Meadowbank make no sense.

“Despite this victory, Meadowbank’s future remains in doubt. Although the public want to see an upgraded Meadowbank, the ruling Lib Dem/SNP administration still want to demolish the popular international facility and replace it with a mini version surrounded by luxury flats. Just because it has been removed from the local plan doesn’t mean they have changed their intention.”
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Response from Craigentinny Meadowbank Community Council: 

To all Meadowbank supporters:

We are  pleased to see that for once the voice of the people has been listened to. The need for a national stadium is greatly needed. And all the better if it is central. I hope this report will help the council to change their way of thinking and listen to the people of Edinburgh.
 
Kind regards
 
G. Modica.
Chairperson
P.S. Well done  
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Response from Robin Harper MSP (Lothians): 

Dear Meadowbank campaigners,
Well Done – excellent news! We must keep up the pressure.

News Release: Local Plan small print shows that Meadowbank is NOT saved

Save Meadowbank - When it\'s gone it\'s gone - Don\'t let it happenWith the deadline for objections to the City of Edinburgh Council’s modified Local Plan looming on July 11th, Save Meadowbank campaigners are preparing their latest publicity initiative for mobilizing concern about the terms of the revised document.

People who had formally opposed the original plan were written letters inviting them to specify their preferred means of objection. But they were contacted again only shortly afterwards to be told that the plan had been dropped, and directed instead to the modified Meadowbank reference in the document.

Section 5.14 of the original document includes Council proposals to “replace Meadowbank Centre with a new athletics stadium at Sighthill Park”.

This will now be replaced with a declaration that “Meadowbank is no longer fit-for-purpose” and that “a replacement stadium and other facilities are proposed to be built within the existing site”.

The implications of this amendment are far from clear and to many, this wording will be taken to mean that Meadowbank has been saved and that no further action is necessary.

But according to Save Meadowbank Campaign spokesman Kevin Connor, this is far from the case. He points out that the wording is not specific about exactly how much land of the “existing site” will actually be used for sport and how much sold off. 

The reworked paragraph concludes “These proposals including their funding are in course of detailed appraisal in consultation with the relevant sporting bodies”.

More ambiguous still is the planning committee statement which initially confirms that “In the circumstances, all references to housing redevelopment will be deleted from the plan” but then goes on to say “this does not preclude the possibility of a housing proposal being brought forward for any parts of the existing site found to be surplus to sporting needs once appraisal and consultation with sporting bodies is complete”. 

In effect, the failure to block this modification of the plan will present the Council with a green light to slice the existing land up however it wants.

“If we build enough opposition and it is withdrawn,” Mr Connor said, ”it makes it much more difficult for developers to get planning permission to build what they like.” 

Save Meadowbank Campaigners will now be leafleting hard to try and ensure that this message gets out to all those who already thought the fight was won.

  • View indicative diagrams of Edinburgh Council’s latest plan for Meadowbank, showing the size and location of any future sports centre and the area that is to become a housing scheme.