Edinburgh’s Meadowbank says goodbye for now

Edinburgh’s Meadowbank Sports Centre is set to close in December to allow for major renovation work to get started.

The new £41.1m sports centre is set to open in Easter 2020 and will be partly funded by residential and commercial development on arts of the existing site.

The venue was built in 1970 for the Commonwealth Games in Scotland, and its closure will be marked with a final fireworks concert on November 5.

The closure follows closely behind the shutting down of the Meadowbank Velordrome earlier this month.

Ian Campbell, City of Edinburgh Council’s vice convener of culture and communities, said: “This is the end of an era for Meadowbank and the start of a major redevelopment to support physical activity, health and wellbeing in Edinburgh for generations to come.

“The facility will support both the local community and clubs and it is important we get the design right.

“That is why the facility mix has been revisited, and now incorporates improved indoor athletics facilities in line with feedback from individual users and sports clubs within the budget we have available.”

He said the old Meadowbank had been “at the heart of sport in Edinburgh for almost half a century”.

And he added: “We now need this new-look venue to greatly support physical activity in Edinburgh for at least the next 50 years to come, while catering for the city’s ever demanding housing needs.”

The new sports centre, which is designed by Holmes Miller, is set to include an outdoor athletics track with a 500-seat stand, two multi-sport games halls, three fitness studios, a gym, a gymnastics hall, two squash courts, a combat studio for martial arts, a boxing gym with a ring, a 60m, six-lane indoor athletics track and jump spaces, an outdoor throwing area, two Fifa-standard 3G pitches, as well as cafés and meeting rooms.

The first multi-sport games hall will be equivalent in size to an eight-court badminton hall, with permanent seating for 420 and extra bleacher seating for 725. The second hall is set to be the equivalent of a four-court badminton hall with permanent seating for 430 people.

June Peebles, chief executive of Edinburgh Leisure, said: “Our focus at the moment is identifying the relocation options for the 100-plus clubs that use Meadowbank.

“We are also working to ensure all our members and ‘pay and play’ customers are able to keep moving and stay active and healthy with Edinburgh Leisure during the closure period.”

Image: Savemeadowbank