New Meadowbank Stadium opening date unclear as clubs grow 'frustrated'

The £49m replacement for the former Commonwealth Games venue has been besieged by delays despite promises it would open earlier this year.

Sports clubs ‘increasingly frustrated’ at lack of opening date for new Meadowbank Stadium Edinburgh Leisure

Sports clubs in Edinburgh are growing increasingly frustrated at the council as they are yet to be told when the new Meadowbank Sports Centre will open.

City of Edinburgh Council, which has been handed keys to the new centre, said last month it’s doors would open to the public ‘at the start of the summer holidays’. But with just three weeks to go until the end of term for schools in the capital, an official date is still to be announced.

Clubs that trained at Meadowbank prior to the £49m regeneration project commencing in 2017 have highlighted how membership has been impacted by the closure and the pandemic, which has already pushed the completion date back by two years.

A source associated with one of the athletics clubs said: “All the different clubs are being told different stories, they’re not happy.

“All the clubs that used to use the old centre, they’ve lost a lot of members due to the fact that the facilities aren’t there.”

They added: “I don’t think they can use the pandemic as an excuse because Birmingham managed to build a brand-new stadium for the commonwealth games and that has opened in time.

“There’s three major athletics championships on this year and you would hope they would have an athletics facility open to coincide with those because that’s when people get really invested.”

Another source said clubs are “anxious to be allowed to use the facilities in order to let our athletes train properly and also build up our membership again”.

And they suggested there are continued delays of some equipment coming from abroad “due to transport issues”.

A spokesperson for Edinburgh Leisure admitted there are “the usual snagging issues that need to be sorted”, however denied claims made about further delays caused by equipment not arriving in time.

They said it is hoped Meadowbank will reopen in the “early summer holidays” and added people would be informed “as soon as we have an official opening date”.

In February, ex-council leader Adam McVey said the new sports complex – which includes games halls, two artificial football pitches, a state-of-the-art gym and a brand new outdoor running track – would be used to host the vote count for May’s local elections “with any luck”.

However, the council later said only postal ballots would be processed at the new centre.

In a statement released just before the election, Edinburgh Leisure CEO June Peebles said: “Now that the completion certificate has been issued, we will be spending the following weeks with final snagging, fit out items, finalising operating arrangements and a comprehensive staff training programme before we finally open the building.

“So, keep your eyes on social media and Edinburgh Leisure’s website for more announcements about the official opening date. We can’t wait to welcome you into the impressive new Meadowbank.”

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