Bruce Thompson: Time to protest Accies’ stadium plans

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I have lived in Comely Bank now for over 40 years and in all that time I have never encountered such a split in the community as currently exists.

On the one hand we have The Edinburgh Accies and their developers who wish to build a new state-of-the-art stadium complete with shops, restaurants, bars and function facilities in Raeburn Place.

Any such development will attract objectors and this is no exception, other than for the fact that Save Stockbridge does support both the Accies and their eagerness to encourage rugby. Having once played on their hallowed grounds, admittedly many years ago, I recognise their unique history and well understand their desire to retain these playing fields in perpetuity.

Of course they need a clubhouse and other facilities; there are alternatives to this proposal, though, which have been discussed with the developer and about which he has proved, intransigent. These remain on the table and talks can resume at any time.

The club currently attracts around 100 spectators, which begs the question as to why they need a new stadium for up to 2500 spectators and further purpose-built facilities for a similar amount standing. The fact that the function areas within the complex are actually bigger than those in the Assembly Rooms in George Street does create genuine concern within the local community.

The rugby club has always been a welcome asset to Stockbridge. It has a long history and was the venue for the first ever Scotland versus England game, but unfortunately the pitch then played on is to be lost within the development.

A huge sporting and business centre, though seen by some as advantageous to the area, has created wrath with others. A massive 90 per cent of all local representations at the most recent consultation process are opposed to this development.

Though supporting rugby, the local people are fearful of the huge impact on the area, the creation of additional traffic problems, environmental issues and the loss of their world- famous views. For all these reasons and the threat that one day this could easily become a white elephant, Save Stockbridge are vehemently opposed to this development, in particular to its size and location, thereby forcing it to call a public protest at the City Chamber at 8.30am before the hearing on Wednesday, July 31.

Bruce Thompson is chair of Save Stockbridge