Meadowbank sports centre could be demolished by autumn 2017

An artist's impression of the redevloped Meadowbank from London Road. Picture: contributed

An artist's impression of the redevloped Meadowbank from London Road. Picture: contributed

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MEADOWBANK sports centre is set for demolition as early as next autumn under £41 million plans aimed at delivering a replacement in summer 2019.

City leaders want to spend £700,000 on developing detailed blueprints which would confirm exactly how much they will have to invest to plug the current funding gap and begin tendering.

The new site will feature a 500-capacity outdoor athletics track, synthetic sports pitches, a gymnastics hall, studios, changing facilities, a cafe and meeting rooms.

SEE ALSO: Hidden camera found in Meadowbank changing room

It is hoped the proposals will “future-proof” Meadowbank for the next 50 years amid concerns it could close for good if major work is not carried out.

The centre was originally built to host the 1970 Commonwealth Games.

Fresh figures show the total estimated cost of completing the revamp is around £41m – down from £43m in February last year and leaving a deficit of just under £6m once borrowing, grants and capital receipts are taken into account.

City bosses today described in-depth plans as the “final piece of the jigsaw” for the project.

Council leader Andrew Burns said: “While it is a significant investment for the council, creating a detailed design would give us greater clarity about how much money we need to invest.

“Obviously there is still a long way to go with a project of this scale if the funding is agreed but I want to assure everyone that the council is determined to realise our dream of redeveloping Meadowbank.”

Councillor Richard Lewis, culture and sport leader, added: “Transforming Meadowbank into a brand new sports complex would provide a modern, fully accessible high quality sports centre for sports clubs and local communities.

“The new venue will bring health and wellbeing benefits across the city by supporting even more people to become and stay active.”

City chiefs are also keen to make land around the existing centre available for the development of hundreds of new homes, as well as student accommodation with space for 1200 beds.

“Not only would we see a new Meadowbank but more homes would be built to meet the city’s housing needs,” said Cllr Burns.

Edinburgh Leisure bosses said the scheme had their full backing,

Chair David Milne said: “While there’s still some way to go to work out exactly what funding is required and how it might be secured, we are supportive of the City of Edinburgh Council’s proposals for moving this project forward.”

He added: “Edinburgh Leisure is dedicated to helping make Edinburgh a more active and healthier city to live in by providing a range of opportunities for people of all ages to participate in physical activity and a new Meadowbank will see a sports venue fit for the 21st century.”

Council officials said they were pursuing additional sources of income to ensure delivery of the new sports centre, adding that discussions were ongoing with interested parties such as NHS Lothian and Edinburgh City Football Club.

They will also seek funding support from the sportscotland agency.

johnpaul.holden@edinburghnews.com