WE wish to place on record our belief in the importance of preserving and improving the Edinburgh Academical Football Club (Accies) home and facilities at Raeburn Place in the heart of Stockbridge.
Accies’ place in the history of rugby is well known; over the years it has contributed over 10% of all Scottish International Caps since hosting the first ever international match between Scotland and England in 1871.
What is perhaps less well known is that the Club is the home of and operates the Edinburgh BATS rugby club, which delivers to and supports rugby at four high schools and sixteen primary schools across the north of Edinburgh. Last year BATS delivered 750 hours of rugby sessions to 1560 young people.
With recent research showing that inactivity is causing as many premature deaths as smoking, surely this youth work is something we should cherish rather than discard.
Through little fault of the Club itself, the facilities at Raeburn Place consist of temporary units, hired at a very onerous cost which is now met by Accies. That is simply not sustainable.
The plans drawn up bring in rent from a maximum of nine shops, and will give Accies the best club facilities in Scotland, run on a sustainable basis, in addition to ensuring the long-term preservation of a valuable greenfield space. With the inclusion of a rugby museum it will make Raeburn Place a highly attractive destination for families and others to visit. The retail element will enhance and complement Stockbridge’s existing offering.
These are carefully drawn up, and high quality proposals. We hope that Edinburgh Accies will be encouraged to stay in its historic home, and that Scotland can begin to close the gap with England in terms of rugby facilities and funding.