Following the vote of councillors on January 29th and the statement from the Scottish Government that they would not “call in” the application on March 6th, Aberdeen City Council have been free to determine the Kingsford Stadium application and move forward. The application is currently “pending” on the city council planning portal.
How and when will NKS make the legal challenge?Once the application is determined, we have 90 days within which to lodge our intention to petition for Judicial Review. So, until then, we are focused on fundraising and preparing the basis for the petition. We will raise a court action for Judicial Review in the Outer House of the Court of Session in Edinburgh within this 90-day limit.
What is the process?Judicial Review has a permission stage. This is designed to ensure that only cases with a likelihood of success proceed to court. At this stage, any petitioner has to also prove that they have a genuine interest in the matter for which they are requesting the review. As part of this initial stage, we will seek a further legal opinion from our QC. This will be used as evidence of our likelihood of success. This opinion will cost approximately £5,000. NKS understand that this permission stage will not be a barrier to our petition. We believe we have a strong likelihood of success and an interest in the matter.
The best possible legal challengeTo lodge the best possible challenge, we need the best possible legal team working on our behalf. We intend to secure both senior and junior counsel to work on this case. This increases our costs but means that we have a stronger chance of success. It also means that we need to raise further funds to have this best possible team. With the team in place and the petition accepted we move on to the next stage.
What happens?Following acceptance of our petition, a date will be set for an initial hearing and a timescale will be decided for a judge to hear the arguments and evidence in the case. Typically, the Court of Session sets a twelve week timeframe in which to prepare arguments in cases such as ours. There will likely be a “keeping-in-touch” hearing at around 6 weeks in. At the end of the twelve weeks, the petition will be heard by a judge and then a decision will be published around three months later. So, it will be about nine months or more after the determination of the application, that we will discover if we have been successful in challenging Aberdeen City Council. Of course, there are then options for parties to appeal to the Inner House or the Court of Session and then on to the UK Supreme court.
Can AFC start work on the site while this is happening?Technically, the club could start work (if all the conditions and requirements have been met) however they will be advised by their own legal representatives to not start any works until such time as the Judicial Review is concluded. If they started work during the Judicial Review and then the decision to grant planning permission was over turned it would mean that they had worked on the site without planning consent. They would then be liable for the full reinstatement of the site as it was prior to any works. AFC are extremely unlikely to accept this risk so are therefore unlikely to develop the site while there is ongoing legal action.
But isn’t Aberdeenshire going to stop the development?The conditions that involve Aberdeenshire can be removed at any time by Aberdeen City Councillors – in fact – city councillors have already requested that any changes to conditions come back to them for consideration. Councillor Stephen Flynn already tabled a motion to grant the planning application without any conditions that involve Aberdeenshire during the planning hearing on January 29th. When we know what AFC have requested from Aberdeenshire Council and there are consultations/proposals to lobby councillors on, we will let you know. NKS are challenging the principle of the development and the process that was used to approve it. In taking this action, we can establish a precedent to protect the land at Kingsford and potentially all areas of land on the periphery of Aberdeen City.
How can I help?We have to be ready to mount the best possible legal challenge when the application is determined. And for this we need you! We are between £15,000 to £20,000 short of lodging the best possible challenge against this decision. Every day, we receive donations from individuals and businesses who are concerned by this development.
- If everyone who likes our Facebook page gave £20 we’d receive over £30,000.
- If everyone who objected to the development gave £10 we’d receive over £50,000.
- If everyone on our mailing list gave £50 we’d receive over £25,000.
- We’ve received many donations of over £1,000 from individual donors.
Account Name: No Kingsford Stadium
Account Number: 00224638
Sort Code: 83-28-40
Bank: Royal Bank of ScotlandPlease include your name as a payment reference if you wish. Or send a cheque payable to “No Kingsford Stadium” to: No Kingsford Stadium Westhill Business Centre Endeavour Drive Arnhall Business Park Westhill AB32 6UF Using the above methods maximises your donation and reduces bank charges. You can also give via PayPal online using the link https://paypal.me/nokingsford]]>