No Kingsford StadiumPlanning PolicyPlanning Update

Big problems with AFC Stadium plans say City and Shire Planners

The Aberdeen City and Shire Strategic Development Planning Authority (SPDA), in their capacity as a statutory consultee for the application, has submitted a report detailing their observations on the plans. Statutory Consultee:  where there is a requirement set out in law to consult a specific body, who are then under a duty to respond providing advice on the proposal in question.  Statutory consultees provide information to assist the planners and councillors when making determining plans. Strategic Development Planning Authority:  is a partnership between Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Councils and has a key role in guiding development over the next 25 years. It is a detailed report, but we have extracted some salient points.  The words are taken directly from the report: Spatial Strategy

  • It is claimed that the AWPR would facilitate development at this location. The purpose of the AWPR is not to facilitate development, rather to alleviate traffic congestion, in the greater Aberdeen area.
  • The ES statement asserts the stadium would improve quality of life. This is debateable given the level of traffic generated on match days.
Economic Growth
  • With regard to economic growth, the SDP (Strategic Development Plan) seeks to grow and diversify the economy. However, the applicants’ claim that the development of a football stadium at this location would help to provide a new range of employment, that would also help to diversify the regional economy moving it away from Oil and Gas, is unfounded.
  • No account appears to have been taken of either the fact that jobs will be transferring from one of the most economically disadvantaged parts of the City to a significantly more affluent one, or of pre and post-match revenue spent in the vicinity of Pittodrie or the wider city area – with very little opportunities for such expenditure in the vicinity of the application site.
Sustainable Mixed Communities
  • It would appear that the proposal is for a football stadium rather than a community stadium as envisaged at the time of the preparation of the SDP, which identified potential stadium location as a component of a broader mixed community.
Quality of the Environment
  • Development of this site would remove the protection afforded by the designation and lead to coalescence between Westhill and Kingswells.
  • While the application sits on the edge of one of the plans ‘ Strategic Growth Areas ‘, it is not within or adjacent to either the City centre of other defined town or neighbourhood centres and has the potential to impact on the city centre which is afforded significant protection within the plan.
  • The location will be a significant traffic generating use in a location.
  • It will have a limited residential walk-in catchment and would create further danger on the Aberdeen-west cycle route.
  • Over 20% of supporters currently travel to the stadium on foot and this is likely to fall dramatically at the Kinsgford site. If thousands of cars were to be parked at nearby employment areas this would give rise to thousands of pedestrians trying to cross the A944 immediately before and after matches.
Scottish Planning Policy – Site Selection
  • Uses that attract a significant number of visitors should generally be located in town and city centres.
  • The supporting ES chapter 4 discusses why the out-of-centre proposed location is considered acceptable. Analysis has been undertaken of alternative sites but restricted to those within the Aberdeen City boundary, despite the SDP explicitly seeing the ‘Community Stadium as a regional facility’.
  • The analysis does not sufficiently justify why the co-location of the stadium and training facilities is necessary and that a standalone site could not be accommodated on a sequentially preferable site.
  • In summary, the justification for the current proposal is particularly weak.
Scottish Planning Policy – Economic Growth
  • While the document discusses the net gain to the Kinsgford area, it doesn’t address the displacement of jobs from the Seaton area, which is in the 20% most deprived areas in Scotland.
  • There is also likely to be a loss of match day revenue from this area (Seaton) and the wider city area which is not directly considered in the economic assessment. As a consequence, the economic assessment does not present a realistic picture of the impact of the stadium relocation to this site.
Scottish Planning Policy – Site Section
  • The proposal will result in the loss of greenbelt land, the coalescence or urban areas, inappropriately located development giving rise to unsustainable travel patterns and have a negative impact on the city centre in terms of its mix of uses and lost revenue.
  • The applicant has not adequately justified why the stadium and training pitches need to be co-located or why sequentially preferable sites have been dismissed as unsuitable.
The full report can be read here,

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