Campaigners unveil alternative vision for Meadowbank's future

CAMPAIGNERS opposed to the council's plans for Meadowbank have come up with an alternative vision for the site.

Friday, 14th September 2018, 8:51 am
Updated Friday, 14th September 2018, 8:55 am
Campaigners are calling for an alternative vision for Meadowbank
Campaigners are calling for an alternative vision for Meadowbank

They claim the scheme, which would offer more sports facilities than the council plan, could be financed without selling off part of the land for housing.

But they say they also want to hear ideas for the site from the public at an all-day drop-in consultation tomorrow.

The alternative plan would retain and renovate the existing grandstand, replace the current sports centre, offering an equal or expanded range of facilities, and build a new fitness course as well as a new velodrome, 3G multi-sports pitches, tennis courts and batting cages, using the whole site for sport and leisure.

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The council gave planning consent in June for a scaled-down sports centre on half the current land and launched a fresh official consultation for the wider site.

But the campaigners say the council scheme would mean less space for sports activity and a dramatic reduction in spectator capacity.

Heather Peacock, spokeswoman for the Save Meadowbank campaign, said it was not too late to come up with alternative plans, including the sports element.

She said: “They have not given final approval. They are still finalising the conditions and the financing of the site.”

And she argued the council’s sports centre plan was still dependent on the outcome of the new consultation.

“They acknowledge they did not do a proper consultation previously and there would now be a blank canvas.

“They have given approval for a sports centre, but 
unfortunately the sports centre is within the wider site they agreed was up for consultation as a blank canvas.”

Ms Peacock said the alternative plan could pay for itself over time and there were other ways of raising finance such as sponsorship or hosting events.

“The possibilities are there, they just have not been explored because the simple option is to sell off land.”

She said the alternative plan would provide 40 per cent more indoor activity space than the council scheme and return outdoor open space to full use.

“It would offer greater facilities for all, including youth clubs, the elderly and non-sport users such as dance groups, music events, exhibitions and fairs.

“Just as importantly, it is sympathetic to the needs of the community which would allow the council to regain the trust it has admitted it has lost.”

But Ms Peacock said: “This is one option, but if the consultation comes up with something different we must listen to the local people.”

Details of the alternative scheme will be on display at tomorrow’s drop-in consultation at Meadowbank Church, London Road, 11am until 5pm.

A public meeting will also take place at the same venue on September 26 at 7pm.

A council spokeswoman said: “Planning decisions have already been made on the sports facilities and the project is progressing really well. Now we are consulting on the wider site.”