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Plans for Meadowbank Stadium cause controversy

By Caroline Wilkinson    16 Apr 2008

The renovation of Edinburgh’s Meadowbank Stadium may result in its capacity being reduced from 16,000 to 5,000 seats so Edinburgh Council can sell excess land to fund further indoor sports facilities.

Although it is at the outline planning stage, the decision has caused much controversy with the Meadowbank Community Council, which claims that it is completely at odds with what the public want.

Giacomo Modica, community council chair explained: “It will mean the loss of almost two-thirds of the existing facilities – we need more facilities not less.” However, a spokesperson for Edinburgh Council said this is completely wrong - no decision has been made on the full range of facilities that may be included.

“Currently, approximately 5,000 seats in the stadium are usable due to aging. To a refurbish the arena back to its 16,000-seat capacity would cost in the region of £42.7m and a new-build of the same standard £60m – completely out of the council’s reach – instead, we are aiming for around £25m.”

The council is applying to Sportscotland, the national agency for sport, for a £2m grant through the National Regional Sports Initiative. A condition of receiving support from this programme is to produce a new-build that delivers national/international facilities of competition standards.

The rest of the funding will need to be generated by the sale of 8.5 acres of land for £17m, possibly for housing developments, with a further £6m from the council.

Phase one is merely considered to be the arena’s construction, but what may follow in time is the expansion of sports facilities.

The council will be investigating what the city, governing bodies such as Scottish Athletics and local clubs need in terms of facilities up until October 2008 when they hope to make a more informed decision for the development.

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