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Edinburgh council to consider £43m Meadowbank stadium replacement plans

By Tom Walker    15 Jan 2015
The Meadowbank stadium was built for the 1970 Commonwealth Games

City of Edinburgh Council will consider committing to a £43m pound redevelopment of the city’s Meadowbank sports complex.

In a meeting next week, councillors will be told that without significant improvements the stadium – built for the 1970 Commonwealth Games – will be forced to close within the next five years due to its increasingly dilapidated state. It is believed that the venue cost the council around £400,000 to run in 2013-14, despite more than 500,000 people using the site.

Plans to be discussed next week include demolishing the existing stadium facilities and spectator areas and replacing them with a new outdoor athletics track and a smaller, 500-capacity stand.

A six-lane, 60m track with jumps, two 3G synthetic sports pitches, an outdoor throws area and two indoor sports halls – with facilities for badminton, gymnastics and a health club – are also being mooted.

The funding proposals estimate the overall cost of building the new Meadowbank facility as £43m.

According to council plans, this will be achieved through funding from SportScotland (between £5m and £7m); revenue savings to the council from closing the facilities during construction; "prudential borrowing", based on forecasts for net income; and through the sale of surplus land at Meadowbank.

Those plans still, however, leave a funding gap of between £11.3m and £19.8m – which the council plans to plug by selling off the naming rights to the new venue.

If the plans are agreed and funding secured, the new Meadowbank could be ready by 2018.

If the decision to proceed is not taken, options for a planned withdrawal of service at Meadowbank over the forthcoming five years will be identified.

Richard Lewis, City of Edinburgh Council’s culture and sport convener, said: "For almost 50 years now, Meadowbank has nurtured sporting participation at all levels - from those taking part for recreational and health benefits to those training for success and medals on a Scottish and international stage.

"It feels right that after Scotland’s successful Commonwealth Games 2014, we kick off 2015 by considering the future of the country’s very first Games venue.

"The feasibility study requested by the council in February 2014 has now been completed and before progressing further, a decision from council is required as to whether it can meet the £11.3mm to £19.8m funding shortfall currently projected.

"If agreed by the Corporate Policy and Strategy Committee, the future of Meadowbank will form part of the Council’s budget considerations for the next financial year."

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