January 30, 2008
Save Meadowbank Stadium Campaign
Slow but steady progress. Support for the campaign to save this vital sports facility is coming in from local communities all across Edinburgh and a recent vote by Councillors suggests that this campaign may be on the verge of a significant victory.
Meadowbank is still seen as a Council Cashline by many in the new administration. At the recent Full Council meeting (Dec 20th), councillors were presented with a report by Council officials that recommended the sell-off of part of the Meadowbank site to finance the upgrade of the Royal Commonwealth Pool, and to put the fate of what remains of Meadowbank on hold.
The only small concession that was made to public opinion (deputations from this campaign, athletes, cyclists, and Trinity Community Council voiced their opposition) was that councillors agreed that land at Meadowbank ‘may’ have to be sold, rather than ‘will’ have to be sold!
Clearly this is unacceptable to the centre’s users, the local and wider public, and consequently, the Save Meadowbank Campaign.
The main success of the public pressure exerted on councillors in the run-up to and during the meeting was the exposure of the Council’s plan to sell out our world-leading cycling community by selling off and not replacing their cycle track. They had intended to keep this quiet until it was too late; instead, now, if they decide to go ahead with their plan, they will have to do so openly, and in the face of strong opposition.
Their is no scope for any reduction in the range of sports provision currently on offer at Meadowbank, and the concept of selling off any part of this sporting land to finance the upgrade of the RCP is one that is lost on anyone who has been subjected to the pro-sport, pro-health, anti-obesity rhetoric of the Westminster, Holyrood, and local governments.
A long-term approach to the financing of sports provision in Edinburgh must replace the unsustainable sell-off now, pay later approach of recent decades. Meadowbank has enormous social and cultural value, on top of its obvious sporting function. It has a clear role in addressing health, social inclusion and anti-social behaviour issues, and the many thousands of people of all ages and social backgrounds that use the centre will vouch for its value in improving community cohesion. If the effort is made, many different budgets should be accessible.
This campaign continues to fights for the interests of all those who were originally (and deliberately) kept well out of this debate.
Please contact your local councillors and MSPs to let them know your opinion. Their contact details and more information can be found on our website: www.savemeadowbank.org