Edinburgh City FC not convinced by new Meadowbank plans

Meadowbank Stadium. Picture: Jane Barlow
Meadowbank Stadium. Picture: Jane Barlow
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IT is supposed to kick off a premiership class regeneration in the east of the city, with plans to breathe new life in Meadowbank and its surrounding areas.

But after first falling foul of community arts group Edinburgh Palette over building sales and eco campaigners over soon-to-be-felled trees, planners in the city have found themselves being ruled offside again – this time by a key stakeholder.

Edinburgh City Football Club, one of the principal users of Meadowbank Stadium for over 20 years, has said the council’s plans for the new sports facility would need significant amendments if the club were to consider returning to the new Meadowbank.

Edinburgh City have been training and playing matches at Ainslie Park Stadium since the old stadium closed. In a statement the club said the plans for the new arena did not meet the aspirations of the club’s future.

It stated: “Whilst representatives of the Club have met with City of Edinburgh Council on a number of occasions to discuss the proposed redevelopment of Meadowbank, the planning application submitted to the council does not, as it currently stands, reflect the requirements of a Member Club of the Scottish Professional Football League or the Club’s aspirations for the future.

“In particular, the proposed 500 capacity spectator stand and single turnstile are insufficient to accommodate the level of attendance which has been achieved at many of the Club’s home League and Cup games in recent seasons.

“Furthermore, it is the Club’s view that the provision of just three rows of seating will offer a very poor viewing experience for spectators, while there is no obvious provision of a pitch perimeter barrier separating the spectator stand from the running track and playing field.”

Plans for the changing facilities for players and match officials have also been raised as well as a failure to provide standalone changing facilities for players and match officials.

But the council kicked back at claims the proposed design does not comply with SFA guidelines.

A council spokeswoman said: “We have consulted with sports clubs and groups throughout the design of the new Meadowbank sports centre, including Edinburgh City.

“The designs put forward for the new stadium will meet the SFA’s bronze criteria, which will allow Edinburgh City to play their league games at this venue. Council officials will arrange to meet with the football club to discuss their statement.”

Meetings to discuss the stadium plan will be held from 2pm on February 20 and at 7.30pm on February 27, in St Margaret’s House.

fiona.pringle@jpress.co.uk