Meadowbank Stadium – home for two Commonwealth Games and the place that has nurtured hundreds of sportsmen and women over five decades – is to be demolished by the end of this year to make way for new state-of-the-art facilities.
The debate about the redevelopment dragged on for over ten years, but all parties are now signed up to the scheme despite some reservations.
This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Edinburgh International Festival. The Labour, SNP and Lib Dem manifestos pledge continuing support for the festivals and the Greens say they would develop Edinburgh as a “whole festival city” making sure all areas felt the benefit.
The Greens also say they would review funding for arts and cultural organisations with a view to better supporting grassroots groups.
Labour pledges to maintain and improve libraries and community centres and to upgrade public parks, adding play areas, and ensure new parks form part of new developments.
The SNP promises no library will close on its watch. It also promises to support local festivals and events; support new initiatives such as the £10m surf centres; increase studio space for artists; replace or refurbish at least 25 playparks; and secure Green Flag status for all major parks.
The Tories propose a new cultural trust to run the city’s museums, art galleries, theatres and libraries, which they say would bring on board expertise from the voluntary, cultural and business sectors.
Richard Lewis SNP
Our programme for Culture and Sport over the next five years is an exciting one.
On the sports side we will complete both the new cycling facilities at the Jack Kane Centre and the building of New Meadowbank, something three previous administrations endlessly debated but failed to deliver.
We will also invest in active lives, which means cycling and walking will remain priorities. Likewise, the furthering of our community access to schools programme will mean the incredible facilities available within our school estate will be available to everyone after school hours and on weekends. This alone has the potential to double our sports facilities.
On the cultural side we will continue to invest in our year-round venues and our world-famous festivals. Initiatives such as the Edinburgh performing arts directory and the small cultural funds awards, both established during the last five years, will mean Edinburgh will continue to attract people who wish to do creative work. The SNP’s protection of the city’s instrumental music service means we are both investing in our children’s education and also the creative artists and audience members of tomorrow.
For infrastructure investment, the £25 million King’s Theatre redevelopment will mean the city’s most popular theatrical venue will finally get the 21st century face lift it deserves. In the next few years the Rose St theatre, the new SCO concert Hall and the Ross Pavilion will all open their doors, We’re committed to maintaining investment in Edinburgh’s cultural estate.
Cameron Rose Conservative
Meadowbank has been crumbling for years. A long list of plans to provide stadium facilities suitable for the Capital has ended with the reduced scale proposal currently on the table.
The new Meadowbank now needs to be delivered.
Edinburgh Conservatives support the current plan for the building, though we have pointed out that arrangements to finance it have hardly been efficient. The council has created financing difficulty by selling part of the land (to itself) at an uneconomic price and there is a shortfall, part of which will effectively be made up of borrowing. But the new stadium is long overdue and final financial arrangements need to be made to get it on track quickly. The demolition and build period need to be kept as short as possible.
Our cultural heritage needs more creative thinking. That is why Edinburgh Conservatives advocate a new cultural trust to bring together museums, art galleries, theatres and libraries.
This will have three key aims. It will bring on board additional expertise and new thinking from the voluntary, culture and business sectors.
It will enable new resources to be brought in through philanthropy, sponsorship and innovation – particularly to combine new ideas with the maintenance and adaptation of buildings. It will offer economies and, importantly, provide an opportunity to secure library provision throughout the city for the future.
Malanie Mann Green
As a director of Edinburgh Festivals City Theatre Trust the cultural offering in Edinburgh is very dear to me. The annual festivals are Edinburgh’s defining feature across the world but I believe we can do more to extend their impact across the city and to residents who currently feel disconnected from them:
n Encourage new venues outside the centre and build on schemes for free or reduced ticketing.
n A tourist levy, first proposed by the Greens in 2011, would raise over £10 million extra a year to support the programme and ease the strain on city services.
n Throughout the year, as Edinburgh grows, there can be tensions between a thriving artistic sector and residents. That is why Greens propose a dedicated post to oversee and co-ordinate the nighttime economy. We have also proposed a more proactive role for the council in identifying venues for performance, rehearsal and day-to-day work for musicians and artists.
n Better access to community facilities is also needed to encourage more take-up of sport. There is still a lot of work to do in opening up schools in evenings and weekends for use for sport. I’m keen to see Edinburgh Leisure develop more programmes to encourage use by people who are not currently well-engaged with activity.
n Finally, over this next term the long-awaited revamp of Meadowbank should take place. Greens have backed the plans for a new facility: the test will be how much a new centre can be the driver over sporting participation across the city. Sport and culture for all should be our watchword.
Gillian Gloyer Lib Dem
Edinburgh has a unique and diverse cultural life, with something for everyone. Liberal Democrats are determined that our wide range of cultural activities continues to meet the needs of local people and visitors. We recognise that Edinburgh’s cultural sector brings jobs and prosperity to the city but that it faces increasing competition from around the world.
At the heart of our cultural appeal are the many festivals and related events. We will seek to ensure our festivals have a stable future. I am proud to be a member of the Edinburgh Film Guild, which set up the Edinburgh Film Festival in 1947.
Filmmakers need a range of studio spaces and locations, not just a single large studio. Liberal Democrats support a hotel bed tax to contribute to stable funding for our festivals.
Liberal Democrats wholeheartedly support the World Heritage status of the Old and New Towns. In planning decisions, we will aim to strike a better balance between the need for economic development and our duty to protect Edinburgh’s unique beauty.
We believe that sport should be easy for all to access and will seek to get better community use of schools’ and clubs’ sports facilities.
When Liberal Democrats led the city between 2007 and 2012, we began to look at how Meadowbank could be replaced. We opposed Labour’s plans at the time to relocate the running track to the west of Edinburgh, because we believe that there should be sporting facilities for communities across the city.
Norma Austin Hart Labour
Redevelopment of Meadowbank has been a priority for the City of Edinburgh Council over the last five years. The new centre will be a state of the art sports centre for all sportsmen and women in the city. It will provide fully accessible, high quality facilities in track pitch events as well as indoor courts.
A major consultation exercise took place at the end of 2016 and the feedback is now influencing the design and development of the new stadium. The council confirmed its commitment to the project by agreeing a contribution of £7.9m at its budget meeting this year and is now working with partners to secure the remainder of the funding needed.
The new Meadowbank sports centre will be a modern, fit-for-purpose, sports facility and will meet the needs of the people of Edinburgh and will allow everyone to pursue healthy active lives. The council anticipates that the old Meadowbank will close at end of 2017 and the new one will open early 2020.
A key contributor to our city is the visitor economy. Revenue per hotel room peaked at £167 in August and the lowest point being January at £38 per room. This is why significant investment is being made in building hotels. This city has built year-round tourism across the country, with Edinburgh the launch pad for the rest of Scotland. This tourism is attracted by our festivals which have been created and funded by Edinburgh council. The festivals generate £313m for Scotland, with £280m here in Edinburgh.