After nearly 50 years of cheers and tears, Edinburgh’s Meadowbank Stadium is to close its doors for the final time this weekend.
The doors at the flagship venue will close for the final time on Sunday, marking an “end of an era” in the Capital.
Developers are set to demolish the stadium in £42m plans to provide a new sports complex and housing, including outdoor and indoor athletics tracks, throws area, badminton courts, gymnastics hall and studios.
The stadium was built for the 1970 Commonwealth Games and has been used as a multi-purpose sports facility over the decades.
The building will now be decommissioned to make way for the new “state-of-the-art” sports centre featuring a new 500-seat stand.
A planning application is to be submitted in the New Year with work to begin next year.
The new centre will be partly funded by residential and commercial development on parts of the existing site.
This will include development of affordable and low cost housing through the council’s 21st Century Homes Programme. In addition to the planning application for the new sports complex, a masterplan for the wider site development will also be submitted.
Councillor Ian Campbell, vice convener of culture and communities at the Edinburgh Council, said: “It is the end of an era.
“The old Meadowbank has been at the heart of sport in Edinburgh for almost half a century. It has been used by millions over the decades and I am sure that many people from all around the world who have passed through its doors will treasure memories of great sporting moments created within its walls.
“I am delighted, however, that we can now look forward to bringing ours plans to life to create a new sporting great to be used by people in Edinburgh and beyond for generations to come.”
Work is expected to take three years with the new facilities due to open in Easter 2020.
This year’s Bonfire Night firework display at the stadium provided an explosive swan song for the venue which has introduced generations of local school kids to sports as diverse as basketball, archery, track, judo and many, many more.
Existing clubs have been found alternative venues in the Capital while construction work is carried out.
June Peebles, chief executive of Edinburgh Leisure, said: “It is with mixed emotions that we say goodbye to Meadowbank - a venue that has served Edinburgh well since it’s opening in 1970. It will be strange closing the doors on a building that, for so long, has played a central role in developing and supporting participation in a variety of sports and physical activity. So many sporting memories for so many people.
“However, the prospect of a new Meadowbank in 2020 does counteract our sadness.
“The new venue will provide countless opportunities for generations to come to participate in physical activity and sport. New sporting memories will be created.”