New plans for Meadowbank Stadium revamp

The indoor facility at Aberdeen Sports Village, which Meadowbank would replicate under the plans. Picture: contributed
The indoor facility at Aberdeen Sports Village, which Meadowbank would replicate under the plans. Picture: contributed
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PART of the Meadowbank Stadium site would be sold off to put ambitious plans to secure a world-class sporting facility for years to come on the starting blocks.

The sale will help fund one of two plans for the crumbling stadium – achieving a long awaited future for the London Road sports site, said council insiders.

The plan is the vision of architects who have already overseen a similar £17 million project in Aberdeen.

It would see a parcel of land next to the stadium, which was originally built for the 1970 Commonwealth Games, sold off for housing to help part finance the redevelopment.

The rest of the funding needed for the project remains outstanding, in what could be a major hurdle to making the vision a reality. Council leaders want to finish the project by 2017. Full details and the cost of the overhaul is set to be revealed this week, with the plans drawn up at a cost of £60,000 by Edinburgh architects Reiach & Hall, the agency behind Aberdeen Sports 
Village.

The Evening News can reveal both options would see an indoor state-of-the-art running track built at Meadowbank.

A multi-lane, all-weather running track and a 400m 
circular outdoor track would be created as replacements for existing facilities, although the length of the indoor training strip will depend on which option councillors vote for.

Two alternate options will be put to city leaders next week.

A “utopian wish list” proposal to build a 10,000-seater stadium at Meadowbank, will also be included in the report, but it has been ruled out as financially unfeasible.

City culture and sport convener Councillor Richard Lewis said both of the realistic options had been modelled on the Aberdeen facility, which opened in August 2009. He said: “We want to really focus on the options one and two, which is getting the first-class indoor facilities that we need.”

Aberdeen Sports Village boasts a 135m six-lane running straight, with specially designed areas for long and triple jump, high jump and pole vault.

An indoor throwing cage allows athletes to also train in hammer, discus, shot put and javelin. Other facilities include a state-of-the-art fitness suite, giant sports hall wide enough for nine squash courts and a 400m outdoor running track with capacity for 500 ­spectators.

Cllr Lewis said athletics would not be relocated to Heriot-Watt University, where the National Performance Centre for Sport is being built, under any of the options.

Lothian Greens MSP Alison Johnstone, who is a qualified UK athletics coach, welcomed the plans for Meadowbank’s future. She said: “If we want to be seen to be serious about catching up, we do have to be ambitious and we do have to invest.”

dale.miller@edinburghnews.com