Aberdeen City Councillors (ACC) voted to grant the planning application for Kingsford Stadium and Training Facilities on January 29th 2018. The application was referred to Scottish Ministers because of the objection of Aberdeenshire Council. Scottish Ministers responded on March 6th stating they would not be “calling in” the application. This meant that Aberdeen City Council were free to determine the application and move forward… …but the application is still marked as “pending” on the ACC planning portal. Why could this be? To understand why the application is still not determined we need to review the Planning Report to Full Council on the Planning Portal. The Recommendation in the report is as follows: Willingness to approve subject to conditions and conclusion of a planning obligation securing:
- Developer contributions relating to Core Paths
- Set up and operation of a Public Transport Steering Group (including mechanism for monitoring and review)
Developer contributions: a multi-million pound headache for AFC?The first of these bullet points relates to what are called Section 75 Agreements. These are the contracts entered into by developers and the planning authority. Stewart Milne, in a statement on January 29th, said: “The next steps are to await final approval from the Scottish Government, agree the section 75, work through the conditions with the Council, and secure the necessary road and building warrant consents.” For Kingsford, the section 75 agreement relates to the Core Path that runs the length of the A944 from Hazlehead to Westhill. Both the path and the roadway will require significant improvements between Kingswells and Westhill to ensure safe access by all users. It is likely that ACC and the club will now be locked in discussions to calculate the scale of the contribution that AFC should make to this Core Path. Given the commitment of the city council to sustainable travel and the significant risk to all users of the core path along the A944, we would like to think that ACC would wish to secure funding to upgrade the entire path to provide access to the development. And in the context of the cuts to council funding, you can see why they will be looking for the maximum contribution from AFC. Such upgrades are likely to cost millions of pounds – they include the installation of crossings, the narrowing of the roadway, establishing lay-bys for bus stops and junction enhancements. Are AFC baulking at the cost of these measures, contributions which they have not budgeted for in their stadium plans?
Public Transport Steering GroupIt is also possible that bringing together the steering group to monitor and review the transport strategy will be a challenge. We already know that it will cost the club at least £600,000 for the consultation for any proposed CPZ in Aberdeenshire – this is a matter of public record from correspondence between Aberdeenshire Council and Scottish Government. The club are yet to produce evidence of a single parking space in the Arnhall Business Park. In the transport strategy, AFC stated they had 600-800 spaces. Could it be that AFC are now clutching at straws to attempt to deliver parking in relation to the stadium? The lack of progress in determining the application would make us think so.
This is about the PrincipleNKS cannot lodge our petition for Judicial Review until the application is determined. The issues listed above can all be overcome by AFC over time and by spending money. We are seeking to challenge the principle of the development and the granting of the planning permission. We believe the decision by ACC is illegal. If we “wait and see” what happens with Aberdeenshire Council, then we will miss our window to legally challenge the application and the battle will be lost. 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. We need your help! Please donate to help us lodge the best possible challenge to this application – we can’t do it without your support. Any donation that you make will remain confidential. Transfer a donation to the campaign bank account:
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
Arnhall Business Park
Westhill AB32 6UFUsing the above methods maximises your donation and reduces bank charges. You can also give via PayPal online using the link https://paypal.me/nokingsford ]]>