A TEAM which helped land the London 2012 Olympic bid has been drafted in to draw up a blueprint for the overhaul of Meadowbank Stadium.
The Sports Consultancy were key specialists behind the successful bid for the games and are also currently working to bring the 2018 Ryder Cup to Madrid.
They will work with Deloitte and Edinburgh-based architects Reiach & Hall to put together options for the council-run sports facility, the Evening News can exclusively reveal.
The key development comes eight years after ill-fated plans were unveiled to sell off the entire Meadowbank site for housing to help pay for a new stadium in Sighthill.
The results will be put out to public consultation.
The council will then work closely with sportscotland, Edinburgh Leisure and other sports bodies to get feedback.
City culture and sport convener Councillor Richard Lewis said the team put in place will explore all the options to come up with a short list of ideas. He said: “We understand the important role Meadowbank plays in the lives of thousands of people in the city and the significance of the venue in providing sports facilities in the east of Scotland.
“The project team has been instructed to look at all options and they will be doing this in a detailed and impartial way. The public will then have the chance to look at the proposals and give us their views. We are determined to involve as many people as possible in the assessment of Meadowbank’s future and hopefully we can come to a solution that will provide top sporting facilities in Edinburgh while delivering best value for the taxpayer.”
The stadium is Edinburgh Leisure’s second most-used venue.However, critics say it has fallen into disrepair – key among them Olympian Lynsey Sharp, 22, who now trains at Leicestershire.
The venue also contains indoor facilities including squash courts, two sports halls, dance studios, an indoor football hall and gym facilities.
Louise Martin CBE, chair of sportscotland, said: “We are developing a world-class sporting system at all levels and working with our partners in local government is key to achieving this.
“So we’re delighted to be collaborating with Edinburgh Council to help examine the options for enhancing sporting facilities in Edinburgh. Sport is currently enjoying a very high profile in Scotland, so now is the time to do everything we can to encourage the people of Edinburgh and surrounding areas to participate in sports and physical activities.”
Cycling legend Sir Chris Hoy, 37, called for fresh investment in the rundown stadium as he announcement his retirement earlier this year.
Britain’s greatest Olympian said he would not have hit such spectacular heights had it not been for the facility.
Meadowbank has faced an uncertain future since plans announced in 2006 to close it later fell through. In February, the council included a £60,000 funding package in its budget to assess options for the stadium, which it said had “reached the end of its illustrious life”.
‘Too icy to train on track’
OLYMPIC athlete Lynsey Sharp said Edinburgh’s training facilities were “a million miles” behind Glasgow’s – after she was told she could not cross a running track to train at Meadowbank for health and safety reasons. We revealed back in December how the runner turned up to train at the stadium only to be told the groundsman was off and to come back later. When she returned, she was told she could not use the outdoor track because it was too icy.