Work on the 30-week reconstruction of two grass pitches at Roseburn Park started yesterday (16th March) in order to provide Murrayfield Wanderers Rugby Club with year-round playing surfaces. As well as upgraded surfaces, a new drainage system will tackle the flooding that has plagued the pitches in the west end of the park, leading to cancelled matches.
Murrayfield Wanderers say the end result will be an enhanced asset for the whole community to enjoy – from rugby and cricket clubs to dog walkers and other recreational users.
The new drainage system and quality natural grass surface mean the pitches will be open more days of the year, dramatically increasing playing capacity. Roseburn sits on the Water of Leith flood plain and heavy rainfall stops even casual use.
Scottish Rugby provided £50,000 through its Club Sustainability Fund in a funding package agreed as part of the planning agreement struck with Edinburgh Council for the Edinburgh Rugby mini stadium on the back pitches at Murrayfield.
Scottish planning rules require replacement provision of pitches, or upgrading of an existing facility, to ensure overall playing capacity is maintained or improved in the local area.
Before embarking on the work, Murrayfield Wanderers consulted with other stakeholders, including City of Edinburgh Council, Friends of Roseburn Park, Roseburn Primary School, Cricket tenants Murrayfield DAFS and Caledonian Thebans.
Wanderers have been a fixture in Scottish rugby since 1868 but lockdown has meant they have not played at Roseburn since March 2020.
Murrayfield Wanderers President Bob Frazer said: “This is a significant undertaking and we would like to thank everyone who worked with us over the last three years to make this a reality.
“With the park better equipped to deal with the vagaries of the Scottish weather, we hope more people will be encouraged to come here, whether it is to play their favourite sport or just enjoy a stroll.”
A Scottish Rugby spokesperson said: “Scottish Rugby is delighted to see a popular local resource in Roseburn Park benefitting from significant upgrade works which will enable more regular use by Murrayfield Wanderers and other park users in the years to come.
“As part of the planning process for the new Edinburgh Rugby stadium at BT Murrayfield Scottish Rugby was asked to contribute to the provision of pitches in the city which it has supported through the improvements at Roseburn Park.”
City of Edinburgh Councillor Donald Wilson, Culture and Communities Convener welcomed the news: “This is great news for Roseburn Park. As a Council we are committed to promoting and supporting access to sport and physical wellbeing and I look forward to seeing the completed pitches being enjoyed all year round.”
Phil Yelland, President of Murrayfield DAFS, said: “The improved drainage in the west of the park will benefit all facets our club’s use of Roseburn Park – from the seniors to our thriving junior section.
“We hope the improved facility will allow us to continue to expand our junior section including improving already good links that we have with Roseburn Primary school.”
Jim McDonaugh, Chair of FoRP commented, “Friends of Roseburn Park welcomes the upgrading of the drainage on the west side of Roseburn Park. Once complete, this investment will benefit not only the sport clubs but all the park’s users including the many dog walkers, joggers and visitors strolling through.”
For further information contact Ewan Gillies 07890 310 872/ firstname.lastname@example.org