Meadowbank Stadium £35m revamp plans revealed

The News revealed yesterday the plan to sell off land to fund a revamp of Meadowbank  Picture: Ian Rutherford
The News revealed yesterday the plan to sell off land to fund a revamp of Meadowbank Picture: Ian Rutherford
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THE cheapest option for the planned redevelopment of Meadowbank Stadium will cost £35 million, it emerged today

Details of a report produced by consultants for the ageing facility’s revamp have been released today revealing the three concepts for the London Road site.

Allan Wells Olympic Gold Medal winner. Picture: Esme Allen

Allan Wells Olympic Gold Medal winner. Picture: Esme Allen

All of the options would involve knocking down the existing stadium and building two new sports halls, a gymnastics hall, a fitness studio and an indoor, multi-lane athletics straight. An outdoor 400m running track is also part of the plans.

A mid-priced £41 million option would involved creating extra pitches for ball sports, including an indoor 3G football arena.

An indoor velodrome and tennis hall are included in the third £85m design, but city officials are expected to rule that option out as financially unfeasible.

Land to the east of the Meadowbank site would be sold off to help fund the redevelopment. A decision on how to source the remainder of the funding is still to be made.

City culture and sport convener Richard Lewis said: “Meadowbank is a much-loved and well-used facility, but it is now nearing its 50th birthday and those facilities that were once considered state-of-the-art, are now no longer fit for purpose. Edinburgh is keen to build on the legacy for community sport that Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games will bring to Scotland, but to do this we need to provide facilities that can encourage and nurture the development of sport.

“Our vision is for a leading edge public sports facility fitting for the 21st century and for the capital of Scotland – a Meadowbank that can inspire future generations of athletes to get involved in sport and physical activity.”

Cllr Lewis added: “We are, of course, only at an early stage and there is much discussion to be had with the local community, the users of the facilities and sports clubs and groups across the city and Scotland - providing the report is agreed next week. We also need to look at ways in which we can source the funding for a project of this scale and in these financially difficult times, that is no mean feat.”

Meadowbank Stadium was originally built to host the 1970 Commonwealth Games.

ALLAN WELLS: REVAMP SHOULD GO FURTHER

Sprinting legend Allan Wells has labelled new plans to revamp Meadowbank Stadium as “sensible”, but has lamented the lack of will and funding to create a full-length indoor track for Edinburgh.

Wells, right, the 100m gold medal winner at the 1980 Olympics in Moscow, welcomed the fresh proposals to modernise the crumbling London Road facility drawn up by architects Reiach & Hall.

But the former Commonwealth and European champion, who 
regularly trained at Meadowbank in the stadium’s early days, said it was a shame the cash was not available to invest in the most expensive option of a 10,000-seater stadium.

Wells, 61, said he was pleased that city leaders were not considering moving the athletics base away from Meadowbank, but added: “Athletics isn’t one of the big sports in Scotland. Unfortunately, I’ve got to say it’s not the sport that it used to be. To some extent, you’ve got to refurbish in respect of what is needed and what will be 
suitable for people in the area. This upgrade will attract people and help the community.

“We know financially how bad things are in Edinburgh at the moment and you have to cater for what you can afford. They are being sensible with what they are doing.

“There’s no point in moaning about what we don’t have, even though what we should have had was a full indoor [track].”

Wells has visited the Aberdeen Sports Village and said the four-year-old facility was “very impressive”.

But he pointed out the plans for Meadowbank would not create facilities of the standard required for potential Commonwealth or Olympic Games contenders to train.

Edinburgh won the right in September to host the new £30 million National Performance Centre for Sport.

The centre will be based at Heriot-Watt University and feature an indoor Hampden replica football pitch on top of arenas for sports including rugby, basketball and tennis.

City culture and sport convener Richard Lewis said winning the right for the athletics village had made it even harder to justify building a major indoor stadium at Meadowbank.

dale.miller@edinburghnews.com