Two sides line up in Dons stadium battle
Community council representatives opposed to the development told the packed meeting they were not “nimbies” and were reflecting local residents’ views.
Kingswells and Westhill community councils have objected formally to the plans, fearing a massive increase in traffic and loss of green belt land. They sent representatives to speak and answer questions to the planning committee ahead of their key decision.
Audrey Findlay, the chairwoman of Westhill and Elrick Community Council, said: “Green belt policy is very clear in planning documents, but it has been swept aside by (the club) in their application.”
Ian Cox, secretary of Kingswells Community Council, added: “We have worked with the consultation on the Prime Four business park – we are not ‘nimbies’. This site is the last piece of green belt that separates two communities who want to maintain their own identities.” “Aberdeen have performed excellently in recent years, qualifying for the Europa League qualifying stage. UEFA are always tightening up regulations. And considering the pitch parameters and other issues, they could be told to play their games at a central belt ground if they realise their ambition of qualifying for the Europa League group stage.
“The new stadium would be a huge positive for Scottish football. Aberdeen is one of Scottish football’s most successful clubs. Other clubs have had or are having major work done to their grounds. Aberdeen needs to keep pace.” “April 8, 2013, was my first day in the job when I realised just how poor our training facilities are.
“It was a reminder no other professional club in Scotland would have trained on a poorer pitch that morning yet we are regarded as a major player in Scottish football. The frustration of our scenario is clear but it’s also laughable.
“If you look at the league table for facilities, we are bottom.
“As I see it, the whole of Aberdeen and the north-east region deserve top-class facilities.
“If we don’t achieve our goal, others will leave us in the distance as they go from strength to strength.” “There is a clear and ambitious plan in place with the City Region Deal and the city centre masterplan.
“We are seeing the early signs of an economic upturn.
“The momentum we have built must be continued.
“No viable city centre sites appear to exist. We believe the proposal to move out of the city will not have a detrimental effect.
“Getting planning permission for the stadium would just be the first step. We need to show that the city is open for business.
“The chamber believes the football club is very important to the city.”
Mr Cox said: “The football stadium (in Aberdeen) will provide the same benefits to the city no matter where it is located in the city.
“We have worked with the consultation on the Prime Four business park – we are not ‘nimbies’.”
Mrs Findlay said: “It seems that local people against this project are simply being dismissed.
“Green belt policy is very clear in planning documents, but it has been swept aside by (the club) in their application.
“At the end of the day this is a planning application.” “The stadium is not on the local development plan. This has not been taken into consideration by the club.
“There are two alternative locations which the club could have chosen.
“We know all football clubs would like their facilities in one place. But it can’t actively prove that having that would provide benefits for the community.
“The proposed site is the last piece of green belt land in the area. We do not want to lose it.
“We thank councillors for listening to us and hope that you come to the right decision. That is that the development should not take place.” “The characteristics of Pittodrie and Kingsford in relation to traffic are totally different.
“Pittodrie is within walking distance for the vast majority of public transport in the city.
“The majority of Westhill and the southern part of Kingswells could be considered in walking distance to Kingsford but at present there is no public transport in walking distance.
“There have been concerns raised about the number of people who would be walking to and from the matches.
“Should either (the proposed footbridge or controlled parking zone) be undeliverable then our stance would change to one of refusal.”
Russell Borthwick, chief executive of Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce
Andrew McKinlay, chief operating officer at the Scottish Football Association
Derek McInnes, Aberdeen Football Club manager
Supporters and objectors made their presence felt
Katherine Sneddon, of the No To Kingsford campaign group Mark Wilkie, Aberdeen City Council senior roads engineer
Ian Cox, secretary of Kingswells Community Council and Audrey Findlay, chairwoman of Westhill and Elrick Community Council