No knee jerk reaction to new stadium proposals

Hearts have declared themselves "open-minded" about a potential involvement in plans for a new 25,000-seat stadium on the outskirts of Edinburgh. But they stress they will only move away from Tynecastle if all avenues for redeveloping their ground are exhausted. Murray Estates, a property company owned by Rangers' majority shareholder Sir David Murray, are set to host talks on their development proposals for an area of green belt near Edinburgh Park. The published plans also include 3,500 homes and a major visitor attraction while the vision surrounding the stadium is for Edinburgh Rugby and Hearts to share the site. Hearts' preferred option is to redevelop Tynecastle but those plans have already undergone a significant revision. When first announced in 2007, the £51million proposals included a hotel and leisure facilities. But, earlier this year, the club admitted those plans were too ambitious amid issues with the council, Tynecastle High School and the nearby whisky distillery. Instead, Hearts announced their plans would now cost £10-15million and focus solely on turning their main stand into an 11,000-seat structure with additional hospitality boxes. A club statement today reinforced that goal while also paving the way for initial involvement in the consultation over Murray's £1billion plans.

The statement read: "Hearts is fully committed to the redevelopment of Tynecastle and the club has no intention of moving from our current home as long as there is a financially viable stadium redevelopment option on the table. We've already invested over £1million in stadium redevelopment plans and have no intention of walking away from that extensive development work. The challenges faced by Hearts in redeveloping Tynecastle are principally external - both health and safety and political. Our first priority is to exhaust every option for the redevelopment of Tynecastle. We do, however, remain open-minded to any business venture that can deliver distinct commercial benefits to the club. Any participation in the charrette referred to in today's newspaper would not be unusual because as a club Hearts must be aware of any plans to build a 25,000-seat stadium only a few miles from our own ground. Hearts will explore any potential opportunities that might exist to create a state-of-the-art football stadium at Tynecastle or elsewhere in the west of Edinburgh."