st November to discuss the stadium plans. We estimate that there were 300 in attendance – a fantastic turnout, obviously reflecting the strength of opinion. It appeared that the vast majority in attendance were against the stadium proposals. It was organised by the Westhill and Elrick Community Council and very expertly chaired by Doug Milne – Area Manager of Aberdeenshire Council. The purpose of the meeting was to allow residents and others to voice their opinions on the proposals which the WECC would record and make available on the WECC Facebook page. AFC were not in attendance as they could not make the date. The City Council planners were not in attendance as it was necessary for them to remain impartial – which unfortunately, did result in there not being many answers to the multitude of questions and points raised. There were two dates to note – AFC are anticipating putting in their full planning application in early December, after which people will have just 4 weeks to send in formal letters of objection. So keep an eye out for our proforma letters coming through your letterbox around then, or look on our website for updates. Also, Doug Milne revealed that AFC are holding a public meeting and display of information at Pittodrie on 24th November. Date for the diary! Please see below for a full set of detailed notes which were taken by us and transcribed on the evening. However, the main points that were raised were:
- Traffic and congestion – the road (A944) will have to be closed for a period to allow traffic to enter and exit the stadium site. One speaker said “Given that there will be over 1,000 vehicles exiting the stadium car park, they will have to close the road as per current practice at Pittodrie. Can you imagine any other developer making that request?”
- Concerns that this would affect emergency access to ARI and the city as well as disruption and inconvenience.
- Parking – and who polices and enforces any restrictions?
- The unfairness of it affecting mainly Shire residents but being just within the City boundary. It will be the City councillors with the vote, not the Shire, although the Shire will be consulted. One person said “ACC have all the rights and yet the Shire have all the responsibilities”.
- Why is this planning application even being considered? Given that two planning applications on adjacent land have been refused (houses and a golf driving range) and it goes against planning policies on greenbelt and isn’t in the development plan? To quote one resident “if someone wanted to put a bungalow on this land they would be turned down, they must have very expensive planning consultants” while another said “why is this even being given the time of day?”.
- Antisocial behaviour and hooliganism. Some felt this was still an issue and concerns were raised about drinking and litter. Policing will be difficult due to the lack of CCTV and geographical spread of fans.
- The issue of the pipelines being so close was raised a number of times – as someone said “sticking a football stadium right in between 2 pipelines is not a good idea”.
- Noise and the fact that due to the lack of tall buildings in the way, noise carries a long way across the residential part of Westhill.
- Impact on wildlife and flood risk, with a number of people mentioning the wet ground near to the site.