Nearly 400 and probably still counting – six weeks to go before the detailed plans for the new Meadowbank sport centre go before planning councillors and opposition to the scheme is growing.
With objections outnumbering support by about four to one, passions are beginning to run high and the “Save Meadowbank” campaign is gearing itself up to mount a last-ditch bid to prevent any loss of facilities. The proposed new centre would see a reduction in spectator capacity from its current 5,000 to 500 and would no longer be suitable for international athletics, so there is no question it represents a compromise.
Indoors, it loses one hall, but otherwise the rest of the complex is broadly similar with the obvious advantage of being brand new.
The Edinburgh Athletic Club has identified several problems, but is prepared to work through them on the basis that the worst option would be further delay. Similarly, Edinburgh City football club has highlighted significant problems which mean the ground is no longer suitable for national league matches but has not called for a halt. Most of the objections are from the stadium neighbourhood and, from the meetings I’ve attended, the concerns relate not so much to sports facilities but car parking and the likely impact on the neighbourhood.
So what is the answer? After 12 years of argument there should be no more hold-ups in creating a modern sports centre but a reassessment of car parking and a plan for dealing with the wider impact is needed.