Campaigners who want the council to backtrack on plans to demolish Meadowbank, replacing it with a new stadium and housing, have called this morning for the resignation of the Lord Provost.
There were two decisions before the planning committee on 29 June, one in regard to the Meadowbank Stadium site and one relating to the remainder of the site which may be used for housing subject to approval.
The Lord Provost Councillor Frank Ross was sitting on the planning committee on 29 June as a councillor substitute, not as Lord Provost, and in any case only attended the first part of the meeting.
Save Meadowbank spokesperson Heather Peacock said : “The Lord Provost should either deliver what he promised or quit.
“He and his planning colleagues agreed no work should take place pending a full consultation and the approval of a masterplan for the entire Meadowbank site. That consultation is still in progress and no masterplan has been prepared.
“No approval has been given yet last week we discovered instead of the promised blank sheet, Council officials are still working from the original plan to build “more than 300 new homes” on half the site, and Edinburgh Council agreed to award a £39 million contract to build a smaller sports centre on part of the site even when it doesn’t have the funding in place.
“This is completely unacceptable. The Lord Provost must ensure officials do what they have been instructed to do. If he can’t or won’t do that then he should stand down.”
It is not permitted for the Lord Provost to sit on any council committees as his is a non-political role, and he was in attendance at the meeting in place of one of his SNP group colleagues – and in his role as elected member.
After various representations by users of the stadium and other community representatives, Cllr Ross added to the debate by saying : “We are bound by planning law and our policy in the decision that we make today. This is a big site and we know from experience across our city that masterplanning these sites is very important.
“If you look at Granton, Pennywell, Fountainbridge, Craigmillar where masterplanning ensures as best we can that we have a place created and that we don’t end up with piecemeal development as we have seen in the past. The idea of a masterplan nowadays is a very useful tool.
“I have been encouraged by where we have moved today. The previous plans and previous drawings which have been put out for earlier consultations are now being taken off the table and we are starting with a truly blank sheet.
“That’s an incredibly important thing, even down to the detail of taking out specific numbers within the report, of putting notes in to make that very clear that we are starting with a blank sheet. Indeed the community needs to be truly involved in this. I agree with Cllr Booth that the Chief Planning Officer has satisfied our policy on environmental policies 18 and 19.
“I would agree with the recommendation to grant planning permission in principle. I would like to see Condition 1 ‘beefed up’. This condition talks about having a masterplan but does not talk about community consultation and community involvement in that process. I would very much like to see that embodied in the actual condition that we agree today. We’ve talked about it, we have agreed that we are going to do it. Let’s write it down and make it part of our decision. That would be key to my support.”
The Edinburgh Reporter asked the Lord Provost for comment on the campaigners’ accusations. He said : “I have listened again to the recording of the part of the meeting I was involved in. I stand by everything I said on that day, but it is important to point out that this was a committee decision and I was only one member of the committee.”
The planning decisions made on 29 June were to approve detailed plans for the new sports centre which will be open in 2020.
The outline of this is included in the document below :
The committee also approved in principle to develop the balance of the land for mixed use. The council has said that this is a major placemaking project and so they began a consultation on the masterplan for the new development (which is the land around the edge of the new sports stadium) in August.
The Finance and Resources Committee approved the appointment of Graham Construction Ltd to demolish the existing building and build its replacement.
This is a £39.29 million contract although the total cost of the project is £45.31 million :
£7.9 million will be contributed by the council
£5 million will be invested by sportscotland
£20 million is expected from the development of the remainder of the Meadowbank site
£3 million is expected from the Westbank Site at Portobello (on which there is to be further community consultation)
£6.8 million will be borrowed by the council
Although the drop in events have now ended these are the information boards used which may give you more information before replying to the consultation :