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. We 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 ).