Letters: Murrayfield expansion adds to parking misery

Murrayfield Stadium has been the home of Scottish rugby since 1925. The present stadium opened in 1995 after a major �50m reconstruction programme
Murrayfield Stadium has been the home of Scottish rugby since 1925. The present stadium opened in 1995 after a major �50m reconstruction programme
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One reader has his say of the parking issue at Murrayfield. What do you think there is a major problem in the area?

In a circle of less than a mile in diameter centred on the British Telecomms rugby stadium at Murrayfield lie the quiet residential areas of Saughtonhall, Glendevon, Riversdale and Roseburn, with narrow streets and high car ownership where on-street parking outside residences is the norm.

These areas have remained virtually unblemished since built in the 1920s.

Until 1994, when the new rugby stadium at Murrayfield was completed, car parking for the venue was achieved by using the SRU ‘back-pitches’ which accommodated upwards of 500 vehicles accessed by bridges over the Water of Leith at Baird Drive and Saughtonhall Avenue.

READ MORE: Map: The roads closed around Murrayfield ahead of The Rolling Stones gig

In planning the modernised stadium, both the SRU and the planning authorities deemed it unnecessary to offer car parking facilities, thus transferring the problem to nearby streets to the detriment of the environment and local residents, all leading to severe parking restrictions, road closures, congestion and often illegal parking.

Now there are plans to erect yet another ‘mini’ floodlit stadium for Edinburgh Rugby on those same ‘back-pitches’ with a capacity which started as 6000 but which seems to have crept up to 7500, with suggestions that it should be 10,000.

With BT Murrayfield (capacity 67,000) and the SRU continuing to spread their wings and sphere of disruption there will be an increase in the number of rock concerts, American Football, rugby league and football matches etc. There is even talk of using the main stadium as a replacement for Hampden Park in Glasgow. This could lead to international matches, cup finals, major European matches, and all without any parking available.

Now add to this mix a rebranded ice hockey side in the local ice rink (capacity 3800) and Hearts at Tynecastle (capacity 20,000) at which both home and visiting fans already park cars and minibuses in Baird Drive and Baird Grove on match days.

The current situation is bad enough and can only deteriorate further on match days, when in Saughtonhall Avenue and other streets, residents with cars are banned from roadside parking and often have to drive some distance to park.

Another stadium with an influx of cars is the last thing the area needs. It is already being suffocated to meet the needs of the sporting fraternity.

It is to be hoped that those involved in promoting the new stadium will be subject, as with any planning application, to a rigorous investigation. Local councillors and politicians should not, this time round, turn a blind eye but instead think carefully about the needs of the council tax payers.