No Kingsford StadiumPlanning PolicyPlanning Update

AFC don't want people to know the true statistics: Objections on ACC site

4916.  This number must surely be a clear indication to ACC that this development, in this location, is not wanted.

Initial Analysis of Results

We have completed an analysis of the support and objections on the site.  This was a pain-staking process as we needed to open up every comment.     We recorded every submissions in support or objection to the planning application, we removed duplicates (47 duplicate objections, 81 duplicate letters of support).  We also noted if these submissions included any comment at all – to be valid a statement must contain a valid material consideration – more on this later.  We logged each submission by location. The results are:
Objection* Support*
Westhill 3042 375
Kingswells 576 161
Aberdeen City 823 2056
Wider Aberdeenshire 378 1245
Further afield 97 814
Total 4916 4651
*with duplicates removed
We did further analysis on the number of blank submissions: There were 1306 blank expressions of support for the application – these are all invalid as they do not contain material planning considerations.  There were 22 blank objections.  Our No Kingsford Stadium template letter, the format of which had been checked and agreed as a valid objection format with Aberdeen City Council Planning Department, accounted for 3372 of the objections lodged.

Material Considerations

During the campaign we continually re-iterated the need to have ‘material considerations’ included within the objections.  They must be included; any objection without them carries no ‘weight’ with the planning department.  The same applies for support. Many of the supporting statements do not include material considerations. Here are just a sample:
Modern facilities badly needed if we want to continue having a successful team in Let’s be bold and say yes to AFC’s plans and allow them to build top class facilities for both the regions biggest affiliated sporting club and also the undeniable benefits that it will bring to their community program. Get it built. Club & city need it All for it to go ahead Aberdeen

Blanks and comments with no material consideration

Of the 4651 support, 1306 were categorised as blank.  They were either completely  blank or devoid of any sensible comments e.g. “Get it Built”.   These will likely be removed from the support total by the council.  Ones such as ‘I support this development’ or ‘this will be great for the area’ are completely lacking material consideration and will carry little if any weight with the council.  If these are all to be removed, there will be valid support comments in the low 100’s. There are also numerous instances of people commenting more than once – perhaps some supporters thought it was like the X-Factor and it was a vote !  One lady ‘voted’ 8 times – every one of them blank.  There were 22 blank objections.

So the REAL results are:

Objection*

Support*

Total

4894

3345

with blanks and duplicates removed.

Level of Support

Given that AFC have a fan base of 40,000 plus, and circa 10,000 season ticket holders, is it not telling they had to make a direct appeal to their supporters on numerous occasions to try and rally support including:
  • Advertising banner at Pittodrie during a match
  • E-mail appeals to season ticket holders
  • Flyer drop at game at Pittodrie
  • Facebook appeal
  • Derek McInnes appeal video
  • AFCCT appeal video
Not much support for a planning application for  club that claims to be a leading light in the North-East? Looks very much like AFC fans are not really behind this planned move.

Press Bias

We have been dismayed but not surprised by the blatant biased reporting in the Evening Express and Press and Journal, (who should of course be neutral), who throughout the entire process have continued to give screeds of space to AFC in their support of the proposal, numerous letters printed in favour and very few of those against, even their editorials openly support it and pay no more than lip-service to those against. We also thought it highly irregular that people that had a direct personal and financial interest in the planning application had lodged supporting comments e.g.  Stewart Milne, AFCCT, Derek McInnes, and even the Pirie family that own the land. So despite the press bias, the Yes “campaign” (little more than a pro-stadium Facebook group), the frequent appeals, 10, 000 season ticket holders, over 94,000 followers on Facebook, fans forums encouraging fans to lodge support and the weight of a top PR company behind them, AFC still only managed 4651 supports.   Of which 1306 are immediately invalid. Surely this must be a clear indication to AFC that the majority of their fans do not support the Kinsgford proposal.

Petitions

Many people had asked us why we didn’t do a petition.  The reason is simple, a petition against a planning application, regardless of how many sign it, only counts as one objection.   They also need to be approved by the planning department prior to commencement, otherwise will be completely invalid. We wonder if the ‘Yes’ petition has followed this process??? We decided that a much more effective way to afford people the opportunity to object would be to do the letter template.  We checked with the Aberdeen City Planning Department and this was an acceptable method of objection, as long as the name & address was completed on each one.  There were a total of 3311 template letters submitted.

Summing Up

So 4916 objections – Not bad for “40 vocal activists” who are “selfish” with our “heads in the sand” as George Yule referred to us at the start of the campaign.  Those words just spurred us on! Huge thank you to our army of volunteers, the people that supported us on our website and Facebook page, and most of all to all those that took the time to object to send a clear message to the Aberdeen City Council. THIS DEVELOPMENT IS NOT WANTED HERE]]>

3 thoughts on “AFC don't want people to know the true statistics: Objections on ACC site

  1. Congratulations on running a superb and very professional campaign. It must be one of the best, if not the best, campaign against a planning application ever seen in Aberdeen.

  2. You have done a great job. Hopefully, it will be enough to stop this destructive development from getting approval.

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