Community ActionEconomic ImpactNo Kingsford StadiumSupporter PerspectiveTraffic and ParkingVisual Impact

A letter from Bill @PS_83 (and our reply)

In a recent chat on Twitter, between fans in favour of Kingsford Stadium and the official @NoKingsford account, we asked fans to let us know why they wanted this stadium and why they felt Kingsford was a good location. Bill  ⭐ ⭐@PS_83  on Twitter was kind enough to reply with two sides of paper and we promised to respond to him. ss1ss2 His points are shown below as given and we’ve responded. Thank you Bill for sharing your thoughts.  Our response to his points are in the boxes below.

From Bill (@PS_83) – Kingsford Stadium & training facilities I think most Dons fans would agree that staying at an upgraded Pittodrie would be the preferred choice, however that option seems to be a nonstarter & the club badly need permanent training facilities. After the Loirston stadium project fell through the next proposal on the table is a stadium and training facilities at Kingsford which is situated on the A944, between Kingswells & Westhill.  
No Kingsford Stadium: You don’t mention Kings Links, which in 2008 was part of a feasibility study, funded by Aberdeen City Council and AFC to the tune of £360,000.  This study identified Loirston as the preferred option, however, Kings Links and the common ground there is still an option available to the club.
  The project that AFC have proposed looks amazing and is exactly what the club needs for the modern day game, I firmly believe if we have top class facilities then we can attract better players, improve the current squad, youth teams and it can generate financial investment. Put all these positive things together and we will then once again have a successful [team] that the North East can be proud of.  
No Kingsford Stadium: The investment outlook in the North-east is very challenging at the moment.  Oil and Gas, which has previously supported the club, are significantly cutting costs and investment from this sector is very challenging. None of the points here depend on a Kingsford location. They are aspirations for the club, worthy but not dependent on the proposed location.
  Obviously there are pros and cons, I will start with highlighting the cons. Traffic in the area will obviously increase on match days, but there is a clear and obvious solution to this – Fans who live in the city, could leave their cars at home and take the bus instead, a shuttle bus service to and from the stadium on match days. Most fans walk to Pittodrie from the city centre so those same fans will not be driving cars. Fans travelling from the South/North of the city will have access to the AWPR so will avoid the city all together and park and ride buses could be arranged for match days also. Fans who live in the Kingswells, Westhill & Elrick areas are in walking distance to the ground so that too will reduce traffic in the area.  
No Kingsford Stadium: According to figures presented in the traffic planning for Loirston, currently 72% of fans travel to Pittodrie by car (see Scottish Reporter Review of Application). Based on typical gate of 15,000 for last year that is 10800 people. On typical car occupancy of 2.5 this would be 4320 cars. We’ll come back to that. The AWPR was designed in 2007.  The junction was designed with capacity for known expansion at that time. Since then we’ve had 3000 new homes planned for Countesswells (currently being built), 1500 additional homes in Westhill, Prime Four (with a further extension planned) and 750 planned homes at Maidencraig in Kingswells. In addition there has been a large expansion of industrial and business units in Westhill. The outcome of this is that the AWPR Kingswells South Junction is under-designed and unable to cope with the additional traffic from these developments. Adding a stadium to this would create gridlock in the area for significant parts of match days and would have an impact on traffic flows across the whole west section of the AWPR. This is a significant risk that planners are unlikely to be comfortable with. Shuttle buses are a plausible idea, however, to move the number of fans required will take somewhere in the region of 180-220 buses (depending on routes and capacities between 51 and 72 per bus). There is no space on the plans for this number of vehicles to wait and be available on site (see later). Also, without multiple routes out of the stadium to the north, south and west, all traffic will be forced to head east on the A944.  This again will lead to gridlock and significant waiting times to leave the stadium.  This is not a good experience for supporters. It is worth noting that the Scottish Reporter felt that similar plans for shuttle buses at Loirston were unrealistic :- “…there is concern about the reality of a 46% modal shift from car to public transport…“
  There are a proposed 1300 spaces at the new site, which if the above is put in place should be plenty. Also I doubt the park & ride at Kingswells is full every weekend, perhaps a part of it could be used on match days for those with cars as it’s within walking distance to Kingsford.  
No Kingsford Stadium: The maximum number of car spaces at the stadium is 1333 (based on 20,000 stadium and current rules of 1 space per 15 people).  Allocation of spaces for club staff, players (and families), corporate takes the actual number on site for supporters to around 650. At the consultations we were told that each supporter car would only be allowed to park if it had three or more occupants, so assuming this: 650 x 3 = 1950 supporters, or being more generous: 650 x 4 = 2600. That leaves, for a 15,000 attendance, 12400 people on public or other modes of transport. Let’s assume away support of 1500 (so maybe 30 buses) so you’ve still got 10900 to move out of the stadium. The club are not keen for fans to walk along the busy A944, so have suggested a shuttle bus service along to the Kingswells Park and Ride and then distribution from there.   There are only 900 car spaces at Kingswells and 200-250 of these are typically in use. So, assuming that some attempt is made to keep some capacity of this amenity for regular users, lets say there are 650 spaces there (which may mean 1500 fans can park there). So on the buses that leave the Park and Ride we have 9400 but let’s call it a round 9,000 (assuming 400 walk/cycle from Westhill/Kingswells).  That leaves 9,000 to get on a bus from the Park and Ride (or stadium maybe?) to get home. At the stadium OR park and ride, where will all these buses park? No room at the stadium and the P&R bus terminus would need a significant redesign to cope with this kind of capacity. And any redesign would reduce the number of parking spaces available. And the logistics of getting supporters on to a shuttle bus, along to the Park and Ride, then on to a bus for their destination. And imagine the time to do this? It hardly makes for the “cinema style football experience” that the club touts. There is no other club, as far as we know, that depends on such a system of shuttle buses and link buses. 
  location – Currently the area are just fields in-between Prime four and Westhill, getting there is covered above. Campaigners who are against it being built have said it will be an eyesore and use up the greenspace in the area. I wonder if these same campaigners said the same about the numerous oil company units that were built next to the Tesco in Westhill, when prime four was being built, or when all the new houses were & are still being built in that area? Where they classed as eyesores in the area and how about all the green space that was used to build everything on? How about all the extra traffic each of the above has generated since being built? Bear in mind football matches are on once or twice a fortnight, unlike 5/6 days a week the congestion that is caused by the numerous businesses built in that area.  
No Kingsford Stadium: Yes, some of us have objected to developments before but that isn’t an argument about wanting to object to this development. Folks are free to look at each development and make a judgement on it. Local councils make Local Development Plans (LDP) in partnership with communities – these plans define controlled and planned development for 5+ years in the future. These documents identify areas for development and then identify the infrastructure etc to support these developments. Yes, sometimes these documents do use greenbelt but they generally try not to – that is part of planning guidance – and such use is discussed as part of this long term planning with communities. Loirston Stadium was part of a local development plan, it was over five years in the planning from feasibility study, through local plan, planning application etc.    This stadium development at Westhill, Kingsford is not part of any local development plan, is on an identified area of greenbelt (there to stop the coalescence – merging if you like – of Kingswells and Westhill). It is not a development that has any supporting planning around it hence it is a significant deviation from the local development plan and should be blocked on this reason alone. This stadium will be in use everyday of the week, in all likelihood, from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. (perhaps later for events/exhibitions – maybe functions to 1 a.m./2 a.m. The building, an imposing structure, will have a significant negative impact on the visual amenity of the area 365 days a year. Quality of life studies, around such buildings, show a significant negative impact on the health outcomes for residents, particularly mental health as a result of noise and light pollution in addition to the general stress of the impact of such a structure.
  Pros Obviously as stated above a new stadium & training facilities are badly needed and I am in no doubt it will help bring back the glory days to AFC, success breeds success. The training facilities not only will help the club, but the numerous pitches & facilities can be utilised by the local community for a variety of things.  
No Kingsford Stadium: the club can have world class training facilities on a separate location from the stadium.  This was the plan with Balgownie and the University of Aberdeen site. It is not a reason to have the training facilities at Westhill. Westhill is already well served with football pitches and training facilities at our local schools, academy, Westdyke and Lawsondale. A new all-weather pitch is under-development at Lawsondale and an all-weather surface is available at Cairnie.
  Better atmosphere – Hopefully a safe standing section will be included in the plans and thus will be a perfect area for the more vocal support to be to help support the team. A supporter’s bar area is also a great idea and will also bring more money into the club.  
No Kingsford Stadium: none of these are positives for the local area or community. They are nice things that fans want but not key considerations for planning.
  Kingswells/Westhill/Elrick areas-Shops, bars & restaurants will get a boost in sales with the extra income via fans frequenting their businesses pre or post-match.  
No Kingsford Stadium: it seems counter-intuitive however it is a fact that local businesses typically suffer as a result of stadium developments. Local trade is depressed on event/match days – typically because people don’t want to use local facilities because of the traffic/parking issues.  This leads to a depression of the local economy – and because people don’t know when the stadium is in use, they stay away – so Saturdays for example. Fans won’t typically be buying a carpet, having a haircut, getting a gift or card or buying baby clothes – they won’t be adding significantly to the economy – there may be some intermittent boost to local pubs but, if you’ve been in them at a weekend, you’ll already know that they are pretty busy.
  AFC saving money -The costs to make the current ground safe will no longer be a drain on the finances.  
No Kingsford Stadium: part of the reason for the condition of Pittodrie is the club’s failure to invest in the facility.  The board, and especially the chairman, have been hell bent on a new stadium since the early 2000s’ and the condition of the stadium is a direct result of a failure to invest. How many times have fans been told: “this is make or break for the club” or “there is no plan B”…I think we can all agree we are now on plan E or F?   Yes, Pittodrie needs some work – redevelopment is not impossible – Hibs have done just that at Easter Road and Hearts are doing that now at Tynecastle.
  AFC Museum – Will create jobs and bring more money into the club.  
No Kingsford Stadium: certainly not many jobs and this facility could be located anywhere. 
  Attract better players-With up to date facilities players will be queueing up to sign for the Dons, also the youth players will improve.  
No Kingsford Stadium: this is an assumption and an aspiration and not really a planning consideration – but I appreciate the notion that players want good facilities.
Thank you Bill for sharing.]]>

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