Judy Murray has waded in to the debate on plans to “downsize” sport facilities at Meadowbank, claiming the city needs more sports facilities to combat Scotland’s obesity crisis.
The tennis coach has said she is “so sad” to see that the demolition of the Meadowbank Velodrome – a once great training facility that has helped produce many Scottish sporting stars – has begun.
Meadowbank was also the home of the three-court William Younger Centre which hosted a leg of the popular Dewar Cup series in the early 1970s, featuring the likes of Ilie Nastase and Jimmy Connors, as well as rising young Briton, Buster Mottram.
The building was sadly burned down in the 1990s with the indoor facility never replaced.
The mother of British tennis stars Andy and Jamie Murray wrote: “So sad. We have an obesity crisis and need more sports facilities, not less. There was once three indoor tennis courts at Meadowbank. They were burnt down many years ago and never replaced.”
The £47 million plans for the new Meadowbank sports facility have been criticised as “downsizing” because the new centre has a smaller footprint, won’t include a new velodrome and features a smaller, 500-seat stand.
Judy was responding to Sir Chris Hoy who posted an atmospheric picture on social media of the Meadowbank Velodrome. He captioned it: “Sad day. End of an era for Meadowbank Velodrome. So many memories, so many friendships all thanks to this place.”
Last year, Sir Chris visited the venue for the last time with his parents during a trip to the Edinburgh Book Festival. The pilgrimage to his home track where he trained from the age of 15.
Campaigners behind the Save Meadowbank movement have welcomed Judy’s intervention and have called on Edinburgh City Council to include tennis facilities within the new masterplan. The council has pointed to major investment in tennis facilities elsewhere in the Capital.
Heather Peacock, from Save Meadowbank, said: “When Edinburgh council’s planning sub-committee met on June 29, it agreed it had failed to consult properly on its plans for the Meadowbank Stadium site.
“It agreed a fresh consultation was required, starting from a clean slate with nothing ruled in and nothing ruled out, which includes the option of restoring tennis facilities at Meadowbank.
“The tennis facilities were lost in 1990 when the building was destroyed by fire. Edinburgh council claimed money from its insurance company following this fire yet the facilities at Meadowbank were never replaced. We call for a full investigation of what happened to this insurance payment and whether correct procedures were followed in not using any of this money to rebuild the tennis courts at Meadowbank.”
A city council spokesman has previously said that following the fire at Meadowbank, money was invested at Craiglockhart, ranked by the Lawn Tennis Association as one of the best centres in the UK.
He added: “At present we have 42 non-private courts across the city and Edinburgh Leisure have a large coaching staff and run arguably the best tennis development centre in Scotland. Last year the council opened four new courts at Inverleith while Edinburgh Leisure refurbished 16 at the Meadows.”