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Aberdeenshire Garioch Area Committee recommend REFUSAL of AFC Kingsford Stadium Planning Application

Report on the Garioch Area Committee Meeting – 21st February 2017. Garioch Area committee were asked for an opinion by the Infrastructure Committee (ISC) – this meets in March and has an extension to provide a statutory consultee response to the City. The ISC will provide a position to Aberdeen City Council based on the submission from the Garioch Area Committee. Area Committees determine matters within their terms of reference which directly affect their areas including planning applications.  Today it was the Garioch Area Committees meeting to determine the matter of the proposed Kinsgford Stadium. The meeting was attended by 11 Shire Councillors, AFC representatives including George Yule, “No Kingsford Stadium” Campaign Group, the “Westhill for Kingsford” Facebook page representative, plus Office bearers from Westhill & Kingswells Community Councils.   All were given equal opportunity to speak, and the meeting was open to the general public. The meeting lasted almost 3 hours.  Some of the key points from the meeting were:

  • It is of key importance to remember this is a planning application; it is of no relevance that Aberdeen FC need a new stadium –  there needs to be valid reasons why this is land should be zoned as suitable for development from its current Green Belt status
  • Cllr Martin Ford said “This is not an appropriate site. It should be a clear NO. Not because it would be a major departure but because it would be a major breach  of the whole strategy of the development plan”
  • Cllr Stewart said “There are fundamental policy issues ”
  • George Yule stated that no site comparison has been done between footprints of Loirston, Kings Links, and Kingsford.  Several Councillors raised concerns around the lack of sequential site selection.
  • There were concerns raised by several councillors that the Traffic Assessment was insufficient. Concerns that the whole transport strategy was car dependant.
  • This is not a decision against a football club. This is land use planning.
  • Economic growth – neutral. We don’t know what the downside will be to Seaton in Aberdeen, one of the 20% most deprived areas in Scotland. Doesn’t make sense to move from there and take jobs to Westhill.
  • Cllr Aitchison asked a question of George Yule regarding the economic benefits, why AFC would want to take economic benefits away from such a deprived area as Seaton to the leafy suburb that is Westhill. George Yule replied “where is Seaton? What’s that to do with this?”
  • It was stressed that the AWPR is to elevate congestion and is not a “ point of sale” for development
  • Cllr Walker said “The football club is being unfair. They’ve portrayed this to the public and their fans as a done deal. It’s not a done deal. Main issues are loss of greenbelt and coalescence. Some people have said ‘but Westhill was built on greenbelt’. Westhill was planned through consultation, this isn’t. That’s the difference.
  • The Strategic Development Plans and Area development plans allocate sites for development and must be adhered to
  • George Yule was unable to answer why it is essential to co-locate the training ground and stadium as most other football clubs do not. Mr Yule said it was cheaper to co-locate.
After all the various representations and discussion concluded, Cllr Stuart proposed a holding objection and Cllr Ford proposed a motion to refuse. There were 6 votes for a refusal and 5 votes for a holding objection. Motion for recommendation to the Infrastructure Committee for REFUSAL was carried. Councillor Iris Walker has written a post about the meeting here]]>

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