Letter: New rugby clubhouse is not a park-friendly plan

The new rugby clubhouse plan has been criticised.
The new rugby clubhouse plan has been criticised.
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SRU is no friend to grassroots rugby writes one reader. Do you agree?

We at the Friends of Roseburn Park read with great ­concern John McLellan’s view in ­Saturday’s Scotsman that the SRU is no friend of grassroots rugby, as Edinburgh ­Wanderers have come off ­badly in being turfed off their back pitches and out of their clubhouse.

Mr McLellan says the ­Wanderers want to build a new pavilion in the park. What we understand, however, is that they want to build a new two-storey clubhouse in the centre of the park, with a licence to sell alcohol.

There is already a pretty and serviceable Arts & Crafts-inspired changing pavilion here. The Second World War armoury is not, in fact, derelict but is often used by both the DAFS Cricket Club and Roseburn Primary School football team. It’s also decorated with the mural we commissioned from Zap Graffiti of Liverpool and completed with the help of the community.

Furthermore, we have for some years been working on getting the disused toilet block converted to a café. Whilst all buildings could clearly benefit from refurbishing, the ones here are single-storey and blend well into the surroundings.

We have told the Wanderers we are happy for them to ­convert these for their and public use (including a café). They are also aware that we are strongly against their building a clubhouse here.

READ MORE: John McLellan: SRU is no friend of grassroots rugby

Our park sits on the banks of the Water of Leith and is a key conduit for cyclists and pedestrians commuting into town – children use the playpark and walk to Roseburn ­Primary School, those living in tenements nearby walk their dogs and the many ­elderly folk who have retired to the area ­value its peace and ­quiet. ­Others sunbathe and kick a ball about.

However, a big new clubhouse will be an eyesore that will dominate the landscape, lead to precious trees being felled and bring associated problems of getting booze and supplies into the building, with likely disturbances caused by drinkers in a park heavily used by young and old. Parking will be another ­problem.

Mr McLellan believes the Wanderers’ clubhouse is to be taken over by Edinburgh Rugby. But their MD, Jonny Petrie, assures us it is not. What is now needed is support from all parties to ensure the SRU either allows the Wanderers to continue using their clubhouse or properly compensates them for its loss, to enable them to buy land to build a new one. But please, only outside our precious Roseburn Park.

Pete Gregson

Chairperson, Friends of ­Roseburn Park,

Riversdale Grove, Edinburgh