Row over Edinburgh football club’s controversial park container

The controversial container in Clermiston. Picture: TSPL
The controversial container in Clermiston. Picture: TSPL
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Edinburgh institution, Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale, is in a fight with Edinburgh City Council and at least one local resident over a metal container in Clermiston park.

Hutchison offered the space at its Clermiston pavilion to Meadowbank boxing club who was in danger of closing following the demolition of Meadowbank Stadium.

But in order for the plan to be workable, goal posts had to be stored in a container adjacent to the pavilion, creating space for the boxing club to operate.

Edinburgh City Council received complaints regarding the container and stated that Hutchison had not properly requested permission to have the container on site.

The Edinburgh-based football club took over control of the pavilion shortly after 2000 and has ploughed thousands of pounds into renovating the site.

Tam Smith, club secretary, said: “The councillor concerned and the member of the Drumbrae Association have been on our case for a long time, its typical of the council that they are totally disconnected from the people they are supposed to serve. Sport is just one element of this, in fact the word ‘sport’ does not appear in any of their governing committees, of the City of Edinburgh Council.

“Sport provision as a whole is a disgrace in Edinburgh, nobody seems to be pulling all the threads together, kids from the council estates are participating in less sport than ever, be it at school or elsewhere.

“This action is not a surprise, in that, football and boxing is an easy target as we have less influence in these places and certainly have no access to the correct school ties.”

Lee McGregor, Bantamweight Commonwealth Champion and LBF World Youth Champion, said: “It’s a massive lifeline Hutchie have offered Meadowbank, to allow them to use the club free of charge a few days a week, to keep the kids they have off the streets and competing in the sport they love. If it wasn’t for grassroots clubs like Hutchison and Meadowbank the community would be far worse off.”

Robert Aldridge, councillor for the Drumbrae and Gyle ward, said: “We all have sympathy for the plight of the boxing club, who were made homeless when Meadowbank closed. Every effort should be made to find them another venue.

“My understanding is that Hutchison Vale sublet the pavilion without either seeking permission or receiving it.

“It was not up to them to sublet it. I also understand that no permission was sought or received to put the container on the park. Local residents want the container removed which is an eyesore and potential focus for vandalism.

“There is another excellent local boxing club in the area. So I want the rules to be followed, a solution which does not undermine our great local boxing club and help given to the displaced club to find a long-term home.”