CITY council leader Adam McVey has been accused of “running scared” after he pulled out of appearing at a public meeting organised by campaigners opposed to the council’s plans for Meadowbank.
The meeting tomorrow has been called by the Save Meadowbank campaign which argues the proposed redevelopment of the sports stadium, which includes demolition of the grandstand and selling off half the site for housing, means the loss of a flagship venue for the city and fewer facilities.
The campaign says the meeting is to “hear what the public wants to happen with Meadowbank stadium”.
Cllr McVey originally agreed to attend but has now told organisers he is “no longer available” and a council official will go in his place.
Campaigner Heather Peacock said: “That is not how we would expect the leader of Scotland’s capital city to act.
“The public meeting has been arranged for months. Cllr McVey is local to the area and had agreed to attend.
“Given he also refused to attend the previous public meeting about Meadowbank in April, it looks to us as though he is running scared of hearing first-hand what the public want to tell him.
“We call on Cllr McVey to show some leadership and reconsider his decision rather than continue to run away from the issue.”
Earlier this month the campaign group held an all-day Saturday drop-in consultation session to ask people what they wanted to see on the site. The event also displayed an alternative vision, using the whole site for sport and leisure, retaining the grandstand and offering an equal or expanded range of facilities compared with before.
The council’s plans for a replacement sports centre were given planning permission in June, but the committee also agreed there should be further consultation on the wider site.
The council insists that means only the area of land earmarked for sale, but campaigners cite plans from the meeting to maintain it includes the entire site.
Cllr McVey, said he had given a firm commitment that the council’s own engagement process would provide “a meaningful avenue for local people and everyone across the city”.
He said: “We’ve held a series of public meetings recently alongside an ongoing online consultation – it’s really important that we hear as many local voices as possible to help us to shape the future of this site.
“Of course we’ll also be participating in Save Meadowbank’s own meeting.
“I was invited to the public meeting two weeks ago and while I had hoped to attend, five days after accepting the invitation I had a diary conflict that I unfortunately couldn’t get out of.
“However the administration will be represented and a number of officers involved in the project will be there to provide information and clarification. I hope this meeting will serve to garner meaningful views from the community to make sure that the final plans reflect their aspirations as well as meet the city’s requirements.”
The public meeting is at Meadowbank Church, London Road, tomorrow at 7pm.