CONCERNS over Edinburgh Rugby’s planned move to Myreside from Murrayfield remain – despite a public meeting to reassure residents.
Rugby bosses held a consultation event on Wednesday about the Pro12 side’s proposals to play home matches at George Watson’s College’s ground.
The plans would see capacity increased to 6000 and temporary stands erected ahead of matches, with the first game played in January.
But with a week to go before the plans are formally lodged, objectors have criticised the presentation’s “worrying lack of detail”.
Campaigners said the question and answer session failed to allay existing fears over possible parking problems, traffic congestion and noise.
Mark Dixon of the No to Edinburgh Rugby at Myreside group, who lives close to the Watsonians ground, said: “I was extremely disappointed by the blithe reassurances provided that they will resolve all of the traffic and congestion concerns. As one of their closest neighbours, we are also very concerned with the scale and imposing nature of the proposed stands.
“The noise, smells and lights of a major sporting event less than 10 metres from your window cannot be ignored.”
The proposed move has also sparked concerns about the wellbeing of psychiatric patients receiving treatment at the new annexe of the Royal Edinburgh Hospital now being built on the boundary of the ground. A spokeswoman for NHS Lothian said managers had met with Edinburgh Rugby to discuss their proposals, adding: “We are participating in the consultation and will be kept informed.”
Jonny Petrie, Edinburgh Rugby’s managing director, described the meeting as “very productive” and said the club was working hard to address concerns.
He said: “It is fair to say we are going above and beyond the statutory consultation requirements, which I am happy to do to ensure valid concerns can be, and are being, addressed. Edinburgh Rugby will be conducting a full survey of all its supporters at our next home game to build a picture of their travel habits.
“This work will continue alongside other research around areas, such as parking, to create a full transport assessment and be submitted alongside our planning application.
“We believe Edinburgh Rugby coming to Myreside will bring many benefits to local businesses and the wider community and we look forward to continuing working with our future neighbours to address any ongoing issues.”
City MSP Daniel Johnson said he wanted Edinburgh Rugby to thrive and find a suitable home, but added: “The Myreside plan can’t come at a cost to local residents. The prospect of 6000 fans descending on this residential area is understandably a big concern for local people.
“It’s not clear there is adequate parking or even that pedestrian access can cope with the large crowds. This can only work with community support and Edinburgh Rugby need to answer these challenges.”