Our Crystal Ball Back in May 2016, one of No Kingsford Stadium’s first Facebook posts highlighted what we considered would be a requirement for a Controlled Parking Zone (CPZ) in Westhill and Kingswells, should the proposed training facilities and stadium be given the go ahead. The proposed CPZ at Loirston Loch was a 30 minute walking zone from the stadium; the equivalent distance at Kingsford covers Westhill and areas of Elrick and Kingswells. We considered it reasonable that a similar CPZ would need to be introduced in our community. NKS were accused of scaremongering, propaganda, dramatic, fabricated information… but really we had a crystal ball.
CPZ: 30 minutes and growingAFC submitted a Transport and Traffic Assessment and Aberdeen City Council roads department responded with the following in regard to the CPZ:
“The TA identifies that a Controlled Parking Zone (CPZ) would be located within a 1,600m walk of the proposed stadium which is to be welcomed as a means of discouraging parking and promoting more sustainable modes of travel as a means to access the stadium in line with transport policy. Despite this, the applicant admits within Section 8.4.18 of the TA that supporters will park and walk for at least 30 minutes and not just the 1,600m identified “! “This is also identified as a suitable walking distance within TAG (2012) as previously identified in Section 3.4. 6.8 We would therefore request that this CPZ is extended for a 30 minute walking proximity assuming typical walking speeds for able bodied individuals. Subject to this being resolved, it would form a condition of any consent for the proposed development, should it be granted.”They continued to say
“It is likely that in the event of consent being granted there would be an additional condition requiring formal monitoring take place at events throughout the rest of Westhill and that if necessary the CPZ be extended as necessary at the applicant’s cost.” “We would also request further information as to how this CPZ would be enforced during match days.” “It is envisioned that it will take a relatively large amount of time to clear the car parks at the stadium following the end of an event. Parking outwith, including at the Kingswells Park and Ride and beyond the CPZ may be more attractive than the ensuing delays exiting the site”.So what’s that actually saying? Basically, that if this development is granted, a CPZ will be implemented with a condition imposed by the council that there is to be no public parking within a 30 minute walking radius of the stadium. This will encompass most of Westhill and the lower part of Kingswells. Don’t say we didn’t tell you. Any Controlled Parking Zone will be a major problem for local people, their friends and families.
- Fans will take no notice. Consider the recent parking fiasco at the AECC where dozens of concert goers parked on grass verges and got parking tickets.
- You already see similar illegal parking outside Lawsondale Park on a regular basis.
- Given that local roads will become “grid-locked” before and after games it’s likely that fans will just take a chance and park wherever they can.
- Given the many miles of roads and streets in both Westhill and Kingswells it’s unlikely that there will be sufficient Police resources to cover every street and ticket illegally parked cars.
- Far too many supporters will try to take their cars – even with moves to force them on to more sustainable transport. The number of spaces provided on-site is not enough to meet the demand – which means that supporters will park anywhere they can (or even where they can’t).
- AFC expect fans to park at a Park and Ride and take a shuttle bus to the stadium – given the likely long waiting times for this service, it’s conceivable that supporters will walk OR take their car and try to park anywhere closer to the stadium.
- Park and Ride services will likely fail for football games. Many people prefer to take their cars which is why bus services are being cut across the area. AFC expect their fans to change habits of a lifetime and take a bus to get to a stadium 7 miles out of town.
Parking is a crime…Parking has not been decriminalised in Aberdeenshire. This means that Traffic Wardens cannot enforce any CPZ in Aberdeenshire therefore we have no traffic wardens anywhere in the Shire. Parking enforcement for a CPZ must be carried out by Police Scotland.
Who will pay?There are no details about the operation of the CPZ and who will pay for it. Residents will need permits – who will administer this? How? There are costs to administering such a system – who will fund this? Well, we all will. That’s what we think. The stadium is in Aberdeen City – there is no mechanism to force AFC to pay to deliver the CPZ in Aberdeenshire so the only option left for Aberdeenshire Council will be to make local people pay for the CPZ all to line the pockets of Aberdeen Football Club.
It will affect all of us!What does it mean for us, the communities of Westhill and Kingswells, should this development be approved and a CPZ imposed?
- Visitors to your home will not be able to park outside your house without a permit
- 100s of cars driving through the streets of Westhill and Kingswells looking for somewhere to park
- Large numbers of fans will walk from their parked cars to the stadium – what does this mean for our community? Fans will be walking alongside the A944 plus using shortcuts through the lanes and parks.
- Away support parking and walking through Westhill and Kingswells too. Imagine Old Firm games, with unsegregated supporters moving through local streets and lanes and the opportunity for trouble.
- Unofficial mini-buses and coaches offloading groups of fans to make their way to the ground, blocking roads and causing further grid-lock.
Police Scotland will need many more officersThe AFC additional Transport Assessment, submitted in May, states that “Police Scotland have confirmed that as part of the overall Traffic Management agreement with Aberdeen Football Club, they could put in place the necessary arrangements to ensure that the CPZ would be policed on event days”. However, the Aberdeen City Council roads department have stated in their comment to the addendum that:
“We have previously requested, and still require, confirmation from the applicant that Police Scotland would enforce the CPZ in Westhill. This has not been provided in writing and we have concerns as other CPZs elsewhere in the country are not being enforced. Additionally it is unclear how a CPZ in Westhill would be enforced if the police are unwilling, as parking is not decriminalised in Aberdeenshire, and Westhill is outwith Aberdeen City Council’s jurisdiction “We contacted Police Scotland and were informed that no meetings had taken place with Aberdeen Football Club and that no formal agreements had been made with AFC to carry out any of the roads management / parking management duties identified in the stadium Transport Assessment. Realistically, can we really expect Police Scotland to have the resources to control this on a match day throughout Kingswells and Westhill when they will have ‘significant other duties’ i.e. policing at a stadium, controlling traffic, managing supporters? The information remains the same, with Police Scotland continually named to deal with all aspects of parking, pedestrian and traffic management. This is all a deliberate strategy to offload as much of the cost of managing events on to Police Scotland and the public purse. Remember AFC only pay for policing inside the football stadium.
Much more than just every couple of weeksDespite the protests that you will hear from fans “this is only once every couple of weeks, what are you worried about?” – it’s not. AFC are an aspirational club, with designs on cup runs and Europe, meaning many more games. There are plans for rugby and football internationals and whatever else they can tout the stadium out for, including concerts.
DISRUPTION, COST AND DANGERThe volume of traffic coming to our area will be like doubling the vehicles on local roads. On match and event days (and nights) it’s likely we will all have to pay for our own parking, presumably via an annual permit. All these additional vehicles will make the residential streets of Kingswells and Westhill much more dangerous for everyone and especially our children. Please support us in our continued efforts to stop this development.