Failure to secure a new Meadowbank Stadium could set sport in Edinburgh back “several years”, the leader of the city council has warned.
Plans for the new £41m facility will be determined by the council on Friday and officers have recommended that the proposals are given the green light. Facilities at the new development would also include an outdoor athletics track with seating for around 500 spectators, a 3G synthetic sports pitch in the centre of the athletics track, an additional synthetic pitch, an indoor 60m six-lane athletics track with jumps facilities and an outdoor throws area. The proposals for the overhaul also feature an eight badminton court sports hall with permanent and moveable seating, a four badminton court sports hall with permanent seating, a gymnastics hall, a gym, studios, a cafe and offices. The plans to replace the current stadium, which officers have labelled as not fit for purpose, are subject to funding bids including a £5 million request to Sport Scotland.
The existing stadium was built in 1968 for the city to host the 1970 Commonwealth Games.
Leader of the council, Cllr Adam McVey, has spoken of the importance of the stadium going ahead.
He said: “Hopefully our bid into Sport Scotland will be approved. We’ve been engaging in robust and meaningful engagement with the community and wider city on the rest of the development site.
“If we don’t rebuild Meadowbank Stadium, if there’s anything that happens that stops that being able to progress, this city will lose potentially £5 million in additional support from Sport Scotland. “It will set sport back in this city a number of years because it will take us a lot longer to get to the point of a rebuilt sports facility. All the sports clubs, everyone who relies on those facilities and wants it to be back in use in a high-quality modern facility, will be hugely disappointed. They will have to look elsewhere to try and sustain the sport that they want to engage in.”
The council is committed to rebuilding Meadowbank by 2022, and it is dependent on new homes and commercial buildings being constructed to make the overall development financially viable. The second part of the development, which is recommended for approval in principle by officers at Friday’s meeting, will include residential homes, student accommodation, hotel and commercial uses.
Cllr McVey added: “It’s hugely important that we secure both parts. “I think we are close to the point of being able to move ahead with it. “Our pledge is to deliver it by 2022 and that it is viable. I think we have made a lot of progress in the last year. I think we’re in a far better place in terms of the rest of the development site. When people do see that we are meaningfully engaging, I think a lot more people will get on board.”
The new stadium will echo the existing footprint of the current structure and is a “like for like replacement in terms of building mass and position”.