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New Meadowbank

Green MSP Alison Johnstone welcomes progress towards a new Meadowbank stadium.

Meadowbank stadium has been a second home to me.  From hazy memories of the 1970 Commonwealth Games, to my own career as a competitive runner in my teens and twenties, to my more recent involvement coaching the next generation of athletes, the stadium has loomed large.

GREEN BATON HANDOVER 001Even in my political life, it’s been there.  When I took on the mantle of potential Green MSP for Lothian from Robin Harper in 2011, he passed the baton (literally and metaphorically) to me at Meadowbank.

But, of course, the stadium has been showing its age for over a decade now.  At a time when the other great legacy of the 1970 Games, the Royal Commonwealth Pool, has been comprehensively refurbished, it’s been hard to watch the deterioration of the sports stadium.

So that is why I was pleased when my Green councillor colleagues on the City Council put forward a proposal in January, as part of their budget, to fund the £6 million gap in total project costs of £42 million to provide a new sports centre.  Part of the deal is that some of the land will be transferred to the housing account to allow social housing to be built for the area.

Although the Green budget amendment was not accepted at the time, the City Council, at its meeting on 10 March, backed the same proposal unanimously.  This allows the project to get to the next stage of design and firming up other funders.

It has been a long time in the pipeline but it looks like Edinburgh can now look forward to a sports facility worthy of the capital.