Community ActionKey IssuesNo Kingsford StadiumPlanning UpdateUncategorized

AFC Consultation: When "consultation" is not consultation?

Unfortunately not. We didn’t expect a full blown planning proposal and transport strategy to be presented, but we did expect there to be outline plans (e.g.  an indication of how tall the stadium might be –  a basic question really – give or take a couple of metres) and a consistent message from AFC on what the transport plans were, but no.  All we got was a drawing of what it might look like, pictures that we had already seen, and a variety of answers on transport, depending on who you asked and on what day.  And an overhead video showing the stadium location conveniently missing out Westhill.  One person likened it to being at a Timeshare pitch. consultationWe did learn one thing though….   that First Bus are confident that they can deliver all the fans  to the stadium with a series of shuttle buses,  using Kingswells Park and Ride as a hub.   Buses will come from all over the Shire and town delivering 1,000s of fans to Kingswells Park and Ride, and by a slick series of shuttle buses they will be at the stadium in time for kick-off.  That way no-one will need to park in Westhill…..Hold on…. weren’t we told there would be a £20 million boost to the local economy?  How can that be if no fans are going to set foot in the Shire? I can just imagine the conversation…

Stewart Milne to Head of First Bus “ Now Mr First… we’ve got to get up to 18,000 fans to a stadium oot the back o’ beyond and home again in time for Sport Scene. Can ye dee it “ First Bus Mannie “Nae bither Stewart – leave it to me”.
 
First Bus Mannie to his team on Monday morning “ Right , I’ve said we can deliver this for Stewartie Milne, now work out how you’re going to do it“.
A similar scene is played out in many offices over Aberdeen on a regular basis.  Of course they say they can do it.  It’s business.  And of course, you can lay on all the buses you want, you can’t make people get on them. Oh there was another thing… there may be a supporters bar for 700.  Just need to find something for the other 16,000 to do since they’ve arrived 2 hours early on a shuttle bus that has been going to and from the Bridge of Don since 10:30.  No-one watches Soccer AM now anyway. We received a large amount of feedback from members of the public equally concerned about the lack of information and talked to a lot of residents at the consultations, who seemed a bit bewildered at the lack of information.  We can’t publish them all, but we felt that the answers provided to one couple by a member of AFC staff (who shall remain nameless) were very enlightening, and thought we would share them with you.   If you are a Westhill resident reading this and enjoying your cornflakes, take care not to choke at the last one.
  • Parking at stadium – He maintains that the Council has agreed 1,300 spaces is adequate as most supporters coming by bus (hurrah for the First Bus team).
  • Parking on residential streets – He did not see this to be a problem and that it would be governed by wardens. (Great –  if the parking restrictions are for no on street parking on match days, then that would mean our visitors can’t park either, and if you’ve a second car and only one space on your drive way, you need to go out for the day.  Early of course, to avoid the traffic).
  • Traffic management – The lights would be temporary (only working on match days) and would only be as inconvenient as the ones we have already for getting the cows across the Aberdeen/Alford Rd. (What – those same lights that haven’t been used for at least 3 years?).
  • Impact on City Revenue – Not an issue as this would then be of benefit to the local Shire businesses. (Sorry Pittodrie Bar and Caley golf club – the Red £ is now all AFC’s.. meh ha ha).
  • Traffic – They feel that the local residents need to ‘manage their lives better’ by avoiding using local amenities around or during match times and to make trips to Aberdeen outwith peak traffic times on match days (I warned you – deploy the Heimlich manoeuvre now ).
One member of our group had a conversation with a fan at the consultation.  She told him she felt that if this stadium went ahead it would define Westhill.  He said to her “so – what would you rather have it defined by …. fields? “…… “Yes” was her answer.  Of course there has been development in Westhill – it’s all around us and many of us are living in those developments.  Some was on Greenbelt.  Some were good (Costco … mmmmm pizza), some were bad (sand pit at the Tarland fork).  Some have been accepted, some have been protested against.  But that doesn’t mean we have to just lie down and accept yet another development.  We need to stand up to developers and try to stop this – otherwise there will be no fields left. People in Westhill have all sorts of reasons for not wanting this…. they are entitled to have those.   Each person is different but we have a democratic right to oppose this.

It’s far from a done deal.

George Yule (AFC vice chair-man) has described members of our group as activists.  Activists are people who want political or social change.  We’re not activists; we’re just ordinary folk who don’t want a stadium and all it brings with it in our community.]]>

3 thoughts on “AFC Consultation: When "consultation" is not consultation?

  1. I asked at one of the consultations whether AFC had undertaken a study of the traffic on the A944 on a Saturday and I was told they hadn’t. So not only do they not know how busy the road is, they don’t care.
    Once more the residents of Westhill are to tailor their lives around the needs of AFC. According to them we have to limit our use of local amenities on match days but the traffic will mean that we can’t use Aberdeen amenities either.
    Most Westhill people have chosen to live here away from the city of Aberdeen and were comforted by the green belt buffer zone. If AFC are allowed this development our lives would change irrevocably for the worse

    1. Absolutely John, the whole idea of presenting a consultation without any substantive offerings for the community or having done any traffic study work shows that whatever the club now produce will be skewed to represent their own views. We need transparent and independent advice on many of these key issues. We cannot trust the club produced reports created by their own paid consultants.

  2. One item that no one has mentioned is the security of the site to things such as terrorism. Having just come back from Perth Australia where they are building a new stadium they have had to incorporate many expensive changes to the new stadium in case of international terrorism. I am surprised that with TWO very easy targets located next to a stadium full of people not being on the potential terrorism targets. The same goes for many sites in the city.
    Another item that has caused concern at this new stadium in Perth is that they had gone for some new type of lighting which has lower energy but it turns out that as the lighting is now located lower down it has a very detrimental effect on eyes and is causing serious eye damage.
    I would prefer my name is withheld from this post as some of the data was given in confidence.

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