Tennis coach Judy Murray has waded into the debate on plans to “downsize” sport facilities at Meadowbank in Edinburgh – claiming the city needs more sports facilities to combat Scotland’s obesity crisis.
Murray said she was ‘so sad’ to see that the demolition of the Meadowbank Velodrome - a once great training facility that has helped produce numerous Scottish sporting stars - had begun.
Meadowbank was also once home to the three-court William Younger Centre which hosted a leg of the Dewar Cup series in the early 1970s, featuring the likes of Ilie Nastase and Jimmy Connors, as well as rising young Briton, Buster Mottram.
The building was burned down in 1990s with the indoor facility never replaced.
The mother of British tennis stars Andy and Jamie Murray wrote on social media: “So sad. We have an obesity crisis and need more sports facilities, not less. There was once three indoor tennis courts at Meadowbank. They were burnt down many years ago and never replaced.”
It has been claimed by campaigners that the £47 million plans for the new Meadowbank sports facility will see a 40 per cent reduction in activity space. However Edinburgh Leisure has insisted despite the new centre having a smaller footprint, this is not the case.
Judy was responding to Olympic cyclist Sir Chris Hoy who posted an atmospheric picture on social media of the Meadowbank Velodrome. He captioned it: “Sad day. End of an era for Meadowbank Velodrome. So many memories, so many friendships all thanks to this place.”
Campaigners behind the Save Meadowbank movement have welcomed Judy’s intervention and have called on Edinburgh City Council to include tennis facilities within the new masterplan.
Heather Peacock, from Save Meadowbank, said: “The tennis facilities were lost in 1990 when the building was destroyed by fire.
“Edinburgh Council claimed money from its insurance company following this fire yet the facilities at Meadowbank were never replaced. We call for a full investigation of what happened to this insurance payment and whether correct procedures were followed in not using any of this money to rebuild the tennis courts at Meadowbank.”
A city council spokesman said: “At present we have 42 non-private courts across the city and Edinburgh Leisure have a large coaching staff and run arguably the best tennis development centre in Scotland.”