Plans for new homes at West Lothian site threatens Edinburgh sports stadium

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The future of city speedway team Edinburgh Monarchs at their West Lothian home could be under threat as plans for new homes on the land have been tipped for approval in an online post by a local councillor.

An application for planning permission in principle for housing on the Armadale Stadium site in West Lothian is pending a decision and Cllr Stuart Borrowman revealed that planning officers are “minded to grant” the outline planning application for housing on the site.

The home of  Edinburgh Monarchs is under threat.

The home of Edinburgh Monarchs is under threat.

He stated: “Council officials are minded to approve the application for 2.7ha of housing at Armadale Stadium.

“Officers say the capacity issues at Armadale Primary School have eased and the stadium is not classified by SportScotland as an outdoor sports facility and doesn’t have the appearance or function of open space.”

A previous application for the site was rejected due to insufficient education infrastructure in the area.

SportScotland are consulted by planning authorities where proposals may result in the loss of the use of land which was last used as an outdoor sports facility.

But track owner Billy Cochrane of BCBC Properties has indicated a positive decision could protect the future of the former greyhound and sports stadium.

A pre-planning note stated: “The whole reason for this application is to avoid a re-designation of the site in the emerging Local Development Plan to an inappropriate ‘Open Space Designation’.

“The owner feels that planning permission in principle for residential development would actually protect his investment in the stadium for a longer period of time and give peace of mind that if the stadium were to close another use could be found for the site.”

And Edinburgh Monarchs bosses have been quick to reassure supporters that any decision taken by councillors with regard to the application will not impact in any way on the forthcoming 70th Anniversary season at Armadale.

Co-promoter John Campbell said: “We have been aware since September last year when this application was submitted that the likely outcome would be approval.

“However, the stadium owners, the Cochrane family, have continued to assure us of the availability for speedway.

“We are continuing our plans for a bumper 70th this year.

“Perhaps the most disappointing matter that Councillor Borrowman has revealed on Facebook is that SportScotland doesn’t recognise the stadium as an outdoor sports facility.”

Mr Cochrane added: “I can 100 per cent guarantee the stadium will be open for speedway at the end of March and I look forward to a successful year for the Monarchs.”