NKS can confirm that we have received information from two separate sources, that Aberdeen City Council planners had made a recommendation to refuse the application by Aberdeen Football Club for a stadium and training facilities at West Kingsford.
A key factor for this recommendation of refusal was the deeply flawed site selection submitted by AFC and the weak justification for co-location of stadium and training facilities.
Aberdeen City and Shire Strategic Development Planning Authority also said that the site selection was “particularly weak” (image below from their application response)
In a private meeting between AFC Executives (Stewart Milne and George Yule) and ACC Officers (Angela Scott, Chief Executive and Eric Owens, Interim Head of Planning), AFC requested more time to resubmit their site selection documentation and other elements of the application that had been found wanting by planners.
NKS have requested a meeting with Angela Scott, to request that the information provided to AFC be made public. It is important that the public have faith in the planning process and that ACC are appropriately transparent in their dealings with AFC.
No timescale has been confirmed for the submission of any new information, however, NKS believe that it is vital that all new submissions should be open to comment by the public. There are full council meetings on December 11th and March 5th at which the application may be considered. It is also possible that a specially convened meeting may be called to consider the application. NKS have requested that we be allowed to address councillors at any meeting if AFC or their agents are allowed to speak.
We believe that AFC will now complete a site selection process looking at alternative sites for the stadium and training facilities separately. The club must look at all possible sites across the city and more widely for the location of training facilities. They must also consider the separate locations for the stadium including the Kings Links and Loirston sites and other possible sites to the north of the city. This will be extremely challenging for the club and it is unlikely that they will be able to present a coherent and valid site selection for the Kingsford location.[caption id="attachment_2953" align="aligncenter" width="680"] Rumours are that many ACC councillors favour the Kings Links site and income this would generate for the city centre, hotels and businesses in keeping with the City Centre Master Plan.[/caption]
This does not mean that AFC and their agents cannot come forward and propose the Kingsford site again but it does make it extremely difficult to justify Kingsford as a location given that there are other preferable locations for a stadium within Aberdeen, as there are other preferable locations for a training facility. The Kings Links site is again “on the table” and this is supported by a recent interview with Paul Fletcher (a football executive who has completed three stadium moves). In an interview for Four-Four-Two he stated,
“I’ve realised that there’s a distance that fans won’t travel and I think that’s about two miles out of a town centre.”
It is also possible that AFC will “front it out” and request consideration of their application, even with the flawed site selection, in the hope that Aberdeen City Councillors approve it anyway. Councillors must consider any application on its planning merits and any failure to do so is open to challenge in the courts.
We can confirm that the club met with ACC planners on Tuesday 10th October and that further discussions will take place during the coming week.
Even if AFC are able to produce a justification for the training facilities and stadium at Kingsford, having ruled out all other sites for these facilities in the city and the immediate vicinity in Aberdeenshire, it is still likely that any justification for the site selection will be extremely weak and open to challenge by planners and, in the unlikely event of approval, through the courts.
To that end, please consider pledging support for our legal fund. We need to be able to take this to the courts in the highly unlikely event that Aberdeen City Council approve this application. We need your continued support.
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