Bid to save under-threat meadows cafe could see it turn into a community hub

A community group has launched a bid to save the under-threat cafe in the Meadows Pavilion and turn it into community hub.

Friday, 21st May 2021, 2:59 pm
Updated Monday, 24th May 2021, 10:39 am
The cafe was a busy spot on the Meadows but has been forced to stay shut

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The cafe which was desperate to reopen this month as restrictions lifted has been forced to keep their doors shut and been asked by landlords Edinburgh Leisure to move their stuff out.

Amanda Scott who sublets the cafe space said the council told her they plan to secure a new tenant under a maintenance and repairs lease.

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Ms Scott has appealed to the council to let the cafe trade and not ‘write them off’ because they can’t stump up repairs cash.

She has also warned that after months of closure the Pavillion has been hit by attempted vandalism as well as graffiti.

It comes after Police Scotland and Edinburgh City Council agreed to a ‘Meadows action plan’ after dramatic scenes of violence and anti social behaviour at the Meadows last month sparked safety fears.

Determined to save the cafe Ms Scott has submitted an application to the council for a community asset transfer, which would see the building transformed into a community hub.

The Meadows Pavillion Community Action Group has drawn up plans which would see the existing cafe run with a new food-surplus sharing depot, taking food from supermarkets and businesses and offering it to those in need on a pay-what-you-can basis.

Ms Scott who heads up the group has won support from a gardening cooperative, who have been redesigning the Pavilion Garden with the help of local volunteers since the beginning of this year.

Under their proposals the Pavillion, which is mainly used as cricket changing rooms, would also be home to a tool-library, a pop-up shop for small local businesses, affordable events space for sports clubs and schools to run activities, as well as cooking and other outdoors workshops.

Ms Scott said: “The Pavilion is a vital part of the Meadows landscape and community, and the cafe has served it and wider community for 15 years. Before the pandemic, it was a busy and friendly spot and has been sorely missed this year. We need to keep this building in the hands of the community."

"Edinburgh Leisure have always been very supportive and have had requests over the years from other big companies, but always kept to our agreement.

"When we were told to move our stuff out because the council wanted the building back, we saw the opportunity to go for it. During lockdown we’ve heard of the doors being kicked in and seen graffiti pop up. When you leave a building in a state of desolation it attracts problems. We’re concerned about that. I hope we can reopen soon.”

The council said they couldn’t confirm what repairs are required but its understood the gutters and roof need work.

Formed as a social enterprise the Pavillion action group and are set to launch a petition to demonstrate the support for their takeover bid. An action day will be held at the Pavilion on Saturday 22nd May and is open to the local community.

A City of Edinburgh Council spokesperson said: “We’re very supportive of community asset transfers in the city. We’ve received an application for the Pavilion at the Meadows and this is now in the early stages of being processed.”

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