THE public consultation on the future of Meadowbank has been branded a “sham” by campaigners after a council report highlighted plans to build 300 homes on the site despite promises of a “blank slate”.
Councillors will today be asked to approve the contract for a £45 million replacement sports centre on half the site, which relies partly on selling off the other half of the land for between £20m and £24m.
Plans for housing, student accommodation, a hotel and commercial development were put on hold earlier this year after a bungled initial consultation process and a fresh consultation on use of the site was launched amid pledges it would start with “a blank slate”.
But the report to today’s finance committee lists among measures of success for the project “development of more than 300 new homes”.
The Save Meadowbank campaign said the council’s planning sub-committee agreed in June the consultation should start again with a clean slate and nothing ruled in or out and also promised nothing would take place until a masterplan for the entire site had been agreed with full community engagement.
Spokeswoman Heather Peacock said: “The consultation is still on-going and no masterplan agreed. Thousands of people have signed a petition against the housing plan and the council was left in no doubt about the strength of opposition at last week’s public meeting.
“Yet now we discover Edinburgh Council has admitted it still intends to proceed with its plan regardless of how the consultation goes.”
She called for the report to be rejected and all work stopped on the Meadowbank site until the promised consultation and masterplan were completed.
Ms Peacock said: “This report is a flagrant breach of what was promised in June when councillors made clear the project had to be taken forward with an entirely new masterplan created from a clean sheet with no assumptions about possible land use.
“The report proves the council’s consultation on Meadowbank is nothing but a sham.”
The finance committee is being recommended to approve the award of the contract for the new sports centre to Graham Construction Ltd for a sum of £39,294,291.
A council spokeswoman said full planning consent had been given in June for the new sports centre.
She said: “At the same meeting, outline planning consent was granted for the wider site for mix use including residential, student accommodation, hotel and commercial uses, together with car parking, landscaping, drainage and ancillary works. We’ve been consulting on this since August online and at local meetings as to help us shape the development.
“We have the opportunity to deliver homes and amenities that meet local people’s aspirations for their area and we need to work together to get it right.”