Community ActionNo Kingsford StadiumPlanning PolicyPlanning Update

It's STILL a NO: New AFC documents do not make compelling case for stadium plans

multiple flaws in the application and it continues to be against local and national planning policy. The economic data presented, in a similar fashion to the data presented for the Trump application at Menie, makes many assumptions in an attempt to “up-sell” economic statements in order to advance the application.  And just like the Trump application, these figures will prove to be a work of fiction. Many of the claims in the new documents have little or no merit and there is no compelling case to deviate from the local development plan in order to approve this application. A new round of public consultation is underway and our own legal team, consultants and professionals are currently preparing our response and preparing to speak at a new predetermination hearing in January.  We believe it is highly unlikely that Aberdeen City Council officers will recommend approval of this application given the clear policy position both locally and nationally. Just because a site is available does not make it an appropriate site.  AFC seem to think that just because they want to do something they should be allowed to do it; no matter what the impact on the environment, infrastructure and communities that Aberdeen City Council are duty bound to protect.  

WE NEED YOU TO LODGE YOUR OBJECTION TO THIS APPLICATION NOW.

 

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  Your objection should be in respect of the new documentation submitted on 21st November and we’ve copied below some handy comments for you to include in your response.

OBJECT BY THE 12TH DECEMBER

YOUR COMMUNITY NEEDS YOU !


  You may wish to use the following statements in your objection:

Green Belt

The proposed development is on a Green Belt site and policy only supports certain limited and specified development proposals.  This development does not meet any of the required categories and therefore must be refused.
The proposed site is in an area of Green Belt which acts as the buffer between communities.  Building on this site will remove the majority of Green Belt between Westhill and Kingswells and any remaining green areas are insufficient to perform this function. The development of this site will therefore lead to urban sprawl and the coalescence of communities and therefore must be refused as previous applications in the area have been.

Transportation

The proposed stadium site is an unsustainable location, a development of green belt land resulting in unsustainable transport patterns impacting on congestion and air quality, and would undermine the purpose and function of the greenbelt, particularly by sprawling into important and necessary greenspaces and the buffer between spaces. As such, it is contrary to transportation and planning policy.

Site Selection

The justification for site selection continues to be weak. There are other preferable sites for separate facilities.  The justification for site selection appears to be mainly financial rather than based on the most appropriate location. Just because a location is financially available for the applicant, does not make that site sequentially preferable.
The selected site continues to be against local and national planning policy as “a significant footfall generating” facility and therefore is inappropriate to the out-of-city location which does not have the transport infrastructure to support it.

Planning Issues

The granting of this application would establish a dangerous precedent for planning consent in the A944 Kingswells/Westhill Corridor.   The establishment of food and retail outlets on the stadium site will provide a precedent used to justify the approval of the “change of use” of the Prime Four “Phase Four” Retail development.  This will subsequently undermine the City Centre Masterplan and lead to the decline of Aberdeen as a regional centre.  The establishment of this precedent is appropriate ground on which to refuse this application.

Public Benefits

The added value of co-location is over stated by the club and it is clear that many other clubs operate successfully across separate sites. The “benefits” of co-location are presented as an emotional sales-pitch rather than having demonstrably positive impact on the community. The operations of AFCCT are based in localities and the practicalities of busing service users 7 miles outside of Aberdeen mean that the use of Kingsford to deliver services is unrealistic.
The proposed stadium location is significantly removed from the communities which ideally benefit from the work of AFCCT.  The site is located between two communities in SIMD Quintile 5 – the most advantaged 20% of the population.   It could be said that moving to this location is purely to benefit the commercial position of the application and that the wider interests of the public are not served by a facility in this location.

Economic Issues

The Economic data presented by AFC establishes a scenario for attendance at Pittodrie dropping to 8,500. This figure is unsubstantiated as the average attendance has never been lower than 9,000 in the last ten years and that the club are currently enjoying their highest average attendance (15,598[1]) of the last 10-year period in a facility that they claim is not fit for purpose. Given the club’s current level of success, there is no evidence to support any increase in employment in the area currently surrounding the present stadium as a result of their current performance and increased attendance figures. A move to Kingsford would, therefore, not lead to the claimed economic benefits.
Moving a significant cultural asset from the city centre will diminish Aberdeen as a regional centre and will see a decline in income within the wider city centre. Figures presented by AFC discount the potential spending of the majority of those attending football events. Discounting any spending by 57% of attendees (those that travel by car represent 61% of supporters based on the data presented but this is discounted to 4%).   This significantly undervalues the spend of those attending Pittodrie and the income generated in the wider-city centre and Pittodrie area.
The facilities presented at Kingsford are intended to purely benefit Aberdeen Football Club.  In contrast, the current arrangement at Pittodrie supports local businesses and the wider community. This plays an important part in the identity of Aberdeen City and the business community around the stadium.
Realistically, a move to an “out of city” location will change supporter behaviour and jeopardise existing businesses in the vicinity of the current stadium. This will have an impact on the regeneration of the city and particularly the regeneration areas around Pittodrie.  No data has been presented to determine the impact on these vulnerable communities.
It is likely that the shuttle bus model will not be attractive for supporters which will lead to this service being cancelled as was the case with the similar service offered for McDiarmid Park in Perth.  This outcome then removes all likelihood of increased city centre spend as a result of shuttle bus departures.

Site Requirements

The claim that 12.5 hectares is required to develop a professional training facility is incorrect.  Many clubs within the SPL operate successfully with training facilities of a smaller size (For example: Hibernian 9.7 ha, Hearts 10.9 ha, St Mirren 2.8 ha)

The Bridge

AFC attempt to provide justification for a bridge which will serve as the feature for the entrance to Westhill – a feature that would never have been designed in.  Other developments have been refused by Aberdeenshire Council for the aesthetic impact that they would have placed on the entrance to the town.  This bridge would be built for a development that would only be used for a few days per year (so AFC continually remind us). So, a bridge that is in place 365 days per year for a development that is used for a few days per year, to get people to and from car parking that is not permissible within a planning application, has not been guaranteed and cannot be guaranteed in perpetuity.  Additionally, for weekday games/events there is no clarity that parking in this area will be guaranteed due to staff parking at their place of work.

Fanzone

It is incredulous that no noise assessment of the Fanzone has been provided with this new information.  In a previous statement (Addendum to Design & Access Statement May 2017), AFC stated that the Fanzone ‘could see live music or DJ’s or Community music projects, with the potential for live acts for every game… Large screens could be set-up to show live events’.  In the new submissions, hidden deep within Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce’s document, they state that ‘Other entertainment pre match to public… outside Stadium’ would have a 10,000 maximum capacity’.  How can a planning application with this statement of intent be considered without a noise assessment?  AFC continue to ignore the rights of the people living in properties surrounding this area of land and the town of Westhill which will be severely impacted by noise travelling from the low lying land of Kingsford.
[1] Based on average attendance to date, the season. [embeddoc url="https://www.nokingsfordstadium.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/170021_DPP-Supporting_Statement-1577823.pdf" download="all"] Other documents are available on the ACC planning web site]]>

3 thoughts on “It's STILL a NO: New AFC documents do not make compelling case for stadium plans

  1. There is no doubt that should this get approval Stewart Milne will wish to purchase remainder of farm for housing.
    What surveys have been done to establish the attendance figures being suggested. As it is known some from Aberdeen will not go out to Kingsford and where is new fans coming from?
    There is a large volume of traffic to Tesco on Saturdays . Football traffic would be impossible.
    What about all the traffic coming from Huntly Inverurie etc. They will not use AWPR. They will come over narrow road from Blackburn into Westhill
    O

  2. I don’t live in West Hill, nor do I have any interest in football. In other words, if people want to play or watch football, that’s up to them so long as they’re doing it where it isn’t a nuisance or inconvenienc to anyone else. However a blind man running for his life in a dark night can see that the proposed Kingsford Stadium would be a major blockage on the infrastructure, especially when the AWPR is finally completed and experiencing its anticipated problems. The fact that they want to develop a green field site for no very obvious reason is ludicrous, especially when you consider the large number of more suitable sites near the city. The argument that it would create jobs doesn’t hold water; during its construction, of course we would be any number of jobs created specifically for that purpose, but once it’s constructed, it’s doubtful if any extra employment would be generated.
    I have no objection to people being ambitious, and this goes for those who indulge in sports just as much as it does for any other occupation. But the same parameters apply; if it benefits the community and harms no-one, fair enough. However, if it harms the community and benefits only a handful of entrepreneurs who are prepared to bend or break the laws, as seems to be the case here, perhaps it is time for them to look somewhere else.

  3. How dare AFC decide that we in Westhill should have a structure like a bridge at the entrance. We are not Cumbernauld or Livinstone and would detest such an eyesore. Please tell me that Stewart Milne does not dictate to the whole of Aberdeen – I want to live in a democracy but I guess money talks!

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