1 to build houses on the Pittodrie site. Emails between AFC Vice Chairman, George Yule and Aberdeen Council Chief Executive Angela Scott show the club is seeking to avoid this 25% requirement. In his email of 06 September 2016 to Angela Scott, Mr Yule describes this requirement to provide affordable homes as “unwelcome” (see email below). AFC applied to Aberdeen City Council (ACC) in May 2016 to extend the life of the Planning Permission in Principle for a residential development at Pittodrie. This is sought to provide sufficient time for the progression of the proposed Kingsford development. We believe that this planning application is currently on hold, pending the outcome of the Kingsford proposal, before further discussion with the Planning department to review the level of affordable housing contribution. The Council’s policy on developers’ affordable housing contributions across the entire administrative area has stood at 25% since 20082. Indeed, the Scottish Government’s guidance has stood at 25% since 20053. The previous council administration (via the Development Management Sub Committee in April 20114) approved Planning permission in principle with the lowest possible affordable housing contribution of 10% for the Pittodrie site. This seems a surprising decision given the longstanding need for affordable housing development in Aberdeen. Successive Local Development Plans (LDP) in 2012 and 2017 have restated the benchmark of 25% affordable housing within any development over 5 units. Why did AFC and its partners receive preferential treatment? Halliday Fraser Munro’s letter of 12 October 20165 to Aberdeen City Council appears to deliberately mislead the council into thinking that the decision to accept only 10% of affordable housing on the Pittodrie site was made during the lifetime of the 2012 LDP. While the planning permission was issued in November 2013, the decision on this was actually made by the Development Management Sub Committee in April 2011 before the adoption of the 2012 LDP (over two and a half years earlier). Halliday Fraser Munro’s letter also states that ‘revisiting S75 obligations jeopardise potential funds from the sale of Pittodrie … by up to an estimated £4-6 million. Quite some sum, which if lost, reflects a significant challenge to the viability of the Kingsford project. This difficult issue will require to be considered by councillors in due course and is yet another example of AFC applying unfair pressure on ACC to achieve their goals and ride roughshod over yet another council policy. At a time when there is a severe shortage of affordable housing throughout Scotland, and particularly so in Aberdeen City where housing costs have been inflated for many years, it is no surprise that the Planning Service wish to review and increase the affordable housing obligation for this application. Developers simply can’t get away with making sub-standard contributions – especially a club and a subsidiary supposedly promoting ‘community’ and ‘trust’ values. ACC must exercise its full authority to ensure that local policy is upheld, and affordable housing development is given a strong priority within a policy area that is within its’ control. Allowing a developer to provide less affordable housing within a development that is less than a mile from the Seaton regeneration area, would set a dangerous precedent, reflect poorly on the priority given to affordable housing within the city, and adversely affect the reputation of the city council. It would also raise serious and searching questions about transparency of process between the council and club, as appears to be evident in other areas.
- 160672 | Removal of Condition 2 (time condition) of Planning Permission in Principle P101517 | Pittodrie Stadium Land North Of Pittodrie Street
- Local Development Plan – Supplementary Guidance Affordable Housing
- Scottish Government Planning Advice Note: PAN 74 Affordable Housing
- Minute of Development Management Sub Committee 28 April 2011
- News article regarding ACC affordable housing
- Email from George Yule to Angela Scott, 6 September 2016