Meadowbank stadium ripe for redevelopment

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ONCE the pride of Edinburgh, the future of Meadowbank Stadium remains hopelessly uncertain.

Built for the 1970 Commonwealth Games and used again as the main venue when the Games returned to Edinburgh in 1986, it is still in constant use despite its crumbling state.

Indeed, according to David Wardrop, Meadowbank “probably hosts as many athletics meetings as it has in the last 20 years”.

The city council has pumped in 
£1.4 million to keep Meadowbank, which can cater for more than 80 sports, going while a long-term solution is found.

“Obviously the future of Meadowbank has been debated for some time, long before I became a councillor,” said Councillor Lewis.

“The success of the Olympics has put the focus back on it. Now is the chance to see if there’s any money, from anywhere, that can be used to improve it.”

Earlier this year, concerns were voiced about the potential sell-off of parts of the stadium amid talks about creating a new home for Edinburgh Rugby on the site.

The plan was said to involve a brand new stadium, but could have meant the loss of the velodrome and other facilities. Another part of the site could be sold off to a supermarket operator to help pay for the new stadium.

News of the talks came eight years after ill-fated plans were first unveiled to sell off the entire Meadowbank site for housing to help pay for a new stadium in Sighthill.

Then council chiefs were forced to delay plans to build a new £25m sports centre after it was revealed in November 2008 that the land being sold to fund the majority of the project would only fetch £5m rather than the expected £17m.

The interim £1.45m investment paid for “essential works” including repairs to the structure of the buildings and resurfacing of the internal and external athletics tracks.

However, councillors were warned that Meadowbank would remain at constant risk of closure until “a more substantial level of refurbishment” is carried out.