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Edinburgh council infighting over FaulknerBrowns scheme continues

FaulknerBrowns' £53 million Sighthill stadium scheme in Edinburgh has been cast into doubt following a clash within the city council's leadership.

The ill-fated plans are once again at the centre of controversy after the Scottish National Party (SNP) decided to oppose the move to build a new athletics and rugby arena on Edinburgh's Sighthill Park (Edinburgh Council refuses to endorse planner's attack on FaulknerBrowns scheme).

The plans, which involve demolishing the city's Meadowbank stadium and building flats on the site, have been backed by the outspoken Liberal Democrat council leader Jenny Dawe, but Dawe is now facing calls to send the scheme back to the drawing board.

The move comes just before a detailed report on the proposals is published later this week.

Steve Cardownie, Edinburgh's SNP leader and deputy leader of the council, believes the facilities should be built on the site of the Meadowbank arena, and only part of the land should be sold off to developers.

Speaking to the Edinburgh Evening News, Cardownie said: 'Our group believes it is imperative to retain a running track at Meadowbank and also provide either a refurbished or brand-new sports complex in that arena.

'We will be arguing that position with our coalition partners and also calling for the scrapping of the proposed arena at Sighthill.'

He added: 'We do not believe the case has been made at all for the new arena. If an athletics track is retained at Meadowbank, with a capacity of at least 2,000, then there is no need for any replacement.'

It is unclear how these plans would be funded, however, with the lack of cash that a private developer would offer in return for the land.

Dawe has refused to rule out development at Meadowbank, which would involve asking the Scottish Executive for more money.

She said: 'The report does make it clear that a new-build at Meadowbank is the best option for the city and that we should exhaust every avenue to identify and secure the funding for this option, including the possibility of disposing of some land at Meadowbank to help finance the project.'

by Richard Vaughan

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