Council outlines vision for Meadowbank

The City of Edinburgh Council today (Wednesday 11 December) published details on the redevelopment options for Meadowbank in a report.

Meadowbank Sports Centre and Stadium could be “a leading edge public sports facility fitting for the 21st century and for the capital of Scotland” said City of Edinburgh Council Culture & Sport Convener, Cllr Richard Lewis, as he announced the results of a preliminary study into the options for the centre.

Meadowbank Option 2 VisualisationThree separate concepts are being put forward in a report to the Culture & Sport Committee next week which represent three different proposals for facilities and levels of investment.

They have been drawn up by a multi-disciplinary project team appointed by the Council, including Deloitte, Edinburgh-based architects Reiach & Hall and The Sports Consultancy along with key partners, sportscotland and Edinburgh Leisure. National governing bodies of sport and the clubs using Meadowbank were consulted as part of the stakeholder engagement.

Councillor Richard Lewis said: “Meadowbank plays a very important role in the lives of many people across the city and beyond. With over half a million visits a year, it is significant not only because it provides sport and health facilities to the local community and wider Edinburgh population but also because it serves many people in the east of Scotland.

“Meadowbank is a much-loved and well-used facility but it is now nearing its fiftieth birthday and those facilities that were once considered state-of-the-art, are now no longer fit for purpose. Edinburgh is keen to build on the legacy for community sport that Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games will bring to Scotland, but to do this we need to provide facilities that can encourage and nurture the development of sport.

“Our vision is for a leading edge public sports facility fitting for the 21st century and for the capital of Scotland – a Meadowbank that can inspire future generations of athletes to get involved in sport and physical activity.

“It was originally built as a venue for the 1970 Commonwealth Games and so it seems only right that we look at the facility now, as we approach 2014 and the return of the Games to Scotland.

“We are, of course, only at an early stage and there is much discussion to be had with the local community, the users of the facilities and sports clubs and groups across the city and Scotland - providing the report is agreed next week. We also need to look at ways in which we can source the funding for a project of this scale and in these financially difficult times, that is no mean feat.

“But I strongly believe that this city desperately needs new facilities at Meadowbank and that we should focus on a more compact, regional standard training facility that is tailored to the current and future sporting needs of both the community and the national governing bodies. I’m keen for this Council to further explore this through extensive consultation with the people of Edinburgh.”

The report notes that a further, detailed feasibility study on the options would be required, along with wider consultation with the local community and individual users of Meadowbank.

It details the list of potential facilities that could be included in any future plans for Meadowbank and these have been divided into core facilities and optional facilities.

Gymnasium meadowbank 2013

Core facilities include a ten-court sports hall with seating for 2,500, a five-court sports hall with bleacher seating for 650, a full-sized 3G training pitch for football and rugby, an outdoor athletics track with a central grass pitch and seating for 500. Also identified as core facilities for Meadowbank are a gymnastics and trampolining hall, four studio spaces and a combat studio for dojo/boxing. 

The study also identified a list of facilities that were considered optional but not essential. These include a 10,000 capacity community stadium, four indoor tennis courts, an indoor 200m velodrome, an indoor five-a-side football pitch among others.

The three options being considered are as follows:

Option 1 – This would provide the core facilities identified. It would be effectively the minimum level of provision required. This option is estimated to cost £35.1m.

Option 2 - This is an extension of Option 1 and has an increased focus on meeting the needs of pitch sports, particularly football and rugby. This option would include full size 3G pitch (rather than a grass pitch) inside the athletics track and would also included an expanded indoor 3G pitch which would be capable of accommodating three five-a-side pitches. This option is estimated to cost £41m.

Option 3 – This is the maximum option and is significantly larger than Options 1 and 2, containing a range of higher level sports facilities. The main difference between this and the other options is the addition of a 10,000 capacity community stadium (including a 3G pitch) for football and rugby, a larger indoor athletics training facility, a four court indoor tennis centre and a 200m indoor velodrome. This option is estimated to cost £85.2m. The report notes that it would be difficult to secure this level of funding in the current economic climate.

In their report, the project team concluded that refurbishment of the existing stadium or like-for-like replacement should not be considered as a possible option. This is due to the outdated nature of the current facility mix and the fact that although Meadowbank was built for the Commonwealth Games, it is now more used as community sports facility by the wider Edinburgh population.

It was also noted that the disposal of excess land around Meadowbank was crucial to the funding and success of the project, however this would be considered at a later date by the Council following consultation with the local community.

The report, Meadowbank Sports Centre and Stadium: options appraisal and stakeholder engagement, will be considered by the Culture & Sport Committee on Tuesday 17 December 2013.

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