Cycle star's dad slams £11m velodrome claim

THE father of Olympic gold-medallist Chris Hoy has claimed a new velodrome at Meadowbank Stadium could be built for half the estimated cost as the venue would not need to host international events.

Mr Hoy, whose cyclist son won his medal at the Athens games in 2004, argued that a training facility could be constructed at Meadowbank for around 5.5 million.

He said that Glasgow was set to benefit from a competition-standard venue as part of their Commonwealth Games bid so an Edinburgh venue would only be needed for practice.

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Mr Hoy has been backed by campaigners from the Save Meadowbank protest group, who also believe that the council estimate is wide of the mark.

The claims come just days after a report by consultants Gleebs estimated it would cost almost 40m to revamp Meadowbank Stadium to modern-day standards.

The report found that a new velodrome on its own would cost 11m, a new sports centre 13.8m, and a new grandstand 12.6m.

Mr Hoy said: "Nobody from the council has spoken to us [about this] in over two years. I'm not sure where the figure of 11m came from but it is either too high or too low, depending on the type of facility that would be needed. It looks to me as if it has been plucked out of the air.

"Scottish Cycling has commissioned a report by outside consultants in light of the fact that the competition velodrome is now going to be based in Glasgow. That will be the centre of excellence for cycling in this country. We want to have a structure in place to feed potential world class cyclists into that centre of excellence."

Mr Hoy claimed that a velodrome in the Capital could consist of a 200 metre track with limited spectator facilities. There would be no need to have sophisticated lighting, air conditioning or complex IT to operate a scoreboard.

He added: "If they are talking about building a new facility, it would cost about half of the 11m that has been quoted and we can prove that."

Mr Hoy was backed by members of the Save Meadowbank campaign, who believe that all of the facilities at Meadowbank could be brought up to scratch for as little as 18m.

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Bill Walker, spokesman for the Save Meadowbank campaign, said: "There is no way that a replacement velodrome would cost 11m. All Scottish Cycling want is a 200 metre training track that could easily be built for around half the price. The council are looking at state-of-the-art materials to use in the refurbishment but that is not necessary."

A spokesman for the council said that the 11m estimate was not a final figure and they would be working with Scottish Cycling to determine a suitable replacement facility. He added: "Gleebs' independent report was ordered to determine the costs of refurbishing the existing competition facility on a like for like basis, not to determine options for a training velodrome.

"The council's sports manager met with [Scottish Cycling's] chief executive two weeks ago to discuss their national facilities strategy. We look forward to the publication which will discuss Edinburgh's future requirements for cycling."

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