John McLellan: Meadowbank campaigners bulldozed

Opponents of the Meadowbank redevelopment gather for a public meeting. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Opponents of the Meadowbank redevelopment gather for a public meeting. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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Two consultation events about the Meadowbank redevelopment take place next week but demolition work is already visible, with fascias removed from the main stand.

Save Meadowbank campaigners are therefore asking why work is progressing when they expected further consultation from scratch about the site’s future. Going back to the planning hearing in June, the confusion is not surprising.

As well as approving detailed plans for the new sports centre, permission was granted in principle for the rest of the site to be used for housing and commercial development on condition there was a full public consultation before a masterplan was agreed. The packed public gallery repeatedly heard there would be a “blank sheet of paper” and that nothing was ruled in or out, but this was only true to the extent that the precise shape of the development and volume of homes had still to be agreed.

READ MORE: John McLellan: It’s the same old vehicular story with no solutions

The new consultation is a genuine attempt to understand more about local concerns, but a blank sheet of paper? It’s more like a half-finished colouring-in book because the council needs money from the site to fund the new sports centre and its housing targets are tough. The meeting heard the housing development would support council objectives and deliver much-needed homes, so Meadowbank has to make a contribution.

But the gallery heard the rhetoric and if they weren’t cynical before they certainly are now.

Next week’s drop-in sessions are on Monday, August 20, 4-7pm at Willowbrae Church and on Wednesday, 12.30-3pm at Craigentinny Community Centre.

It’s time to get Waverley back on track

Network Rail announcement: The masterplan now leaving Waverley is the latest service for architects and engineers but Network Rail cannot guarantee when this service will arrive, if ever. We would like to apologise for years of increasing traffic congestion and for making it as difficult as possible for disabled and elderly passengers to access our trains . . .

READ MORE: Edinburgh Waverley set for revamp to help ease demand at station

Not before time has Network Rail commissioned a rethink about how the station works, after a long line of proposals and upgrades for Waverley few of which paid much heed to the surrounding streets. With passenger numbers up 19 per cent in five years to 22.5m and expected to approach 40m by 2042, a new approach is needed in more ways than one, but it makes a mockery of the council administration’s suggestion that the city centre could be made traffic-free.

Have a car, but don’t drive it

The SNP-Labour administration denies waging war on motorists, but with talk of total car bans and levies on companies with parking spaces and employees who use them, what else are drivers to think? “We’re not anti-car, we just hate you driving them,” seems to be the message they can’t quite bring themselves to say.

The suggested city-centre bus ban, now apparently backed by a Princes Street hotel manager, would smash a hole through Lothian Buses’ profitability because of the disruption and hit its ability to withstand the council’s £7m-a-year raid to fund the tram completion scheme. Whaur’s yer sustainable transport policy noo?

The answer to litter?

Picking our way round piles of fast-food wrappers and discarded tumblers round overflowing bins on The Mound last weekend felt more like something from Slumdog Millionaire than the Edinburgh Festival, and Amsterdam’s plan for teams of “hosts” to tackle tourist hot-spots and close streets for clear-ups got me thinking about the poor state of some streets at night just now. Maybe more litter hit squads organised by the big Fringe venues and the Business Improvement Districts could be a solution?