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Edinburgh bid for national sport centre heats up

An artist's impression of the Stirling facility

An artist's impression of the Stirling facility

THE Capital is dipping towards the finishing line of a race that could see it win a money-spinning centre to train the sport stars of the future.

Edinburgh is battling against Dundee and Stirling to win the chance to develop the £25 million National Performance Centre for Sport.

After making final presentations at Hampden Park in Glasgow last week, insiders revealed the seven-person judging panel, chaired by Scottish Football Association chief executive Stewart Regan, had already made its decision, with the recommendation passed to the Scottish Government to make the final call.

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is expected to announce the winner as early as this month.

Prior to the result, the Evening News contacted experts nationwide to test the strength of all three bids.

A host of national sporting bodies, including Tennis Scotland, has said they will be happy to have a national centre regardless of which city wins the bid.

However, Cricket Scotland chief executive Roddy Smith said Stirling was the sport’s preferred option, with talks well progressed with that city’s bid leaders.

He said: “We’re already in quite advanced stages with Stirling. Our professional players would be based there and we’d be able to train there all year round. We’d also play games there.

“We would not play every single game there – we’d still want to play games in Edinburgh at the Grange, and in Glasgow and Aberdeen.”

Edinburgh’s proposed centre would be built at Heriot-Watt’s Riccarton campus in the city’s south-west and would include a 170-bed mid-market hotel and three outdoor tennis courts on top of an eye-catching indoor Hampden replica football pitch.

Cricket Scotland has also held discussions with Heriot-Watt University but has had no contact with Dundee bid organisers.

Tennis Scotland has, meanwhile, held talks with university chiefs about building a separate indoor tennis centre that would link up with the potential sports village, but could go ahead even if Edinburgh’s bid is 
unsuccessful.

Authorities want to capitalise on the legacy of Andy Murray’s historic Wimbledon triumph.

A spokesman for Tennis Scotland said: “They’re very keen, as are we, to have more tennis provision.”

John Dunlop, chief executive for Scottish Squash and Racketball, has not seen the details of Dundee’s bid, but has been briefed on the plans of the
Capital and Stirling.

Mr Dunlop said he could not pick a favourite location, but said: “Geography wise
you would think Dundee might be out yet you could see them putting it in for
other reasons, like redevelopment.”

 

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