Judicial Review

Kingsford Stadium Legal Hearing Commences This Week

The legal hearing to determine whether Aberdeen City Council was right to give the go-ahead to the new Aberdeen FC stadium at Kingsford will start this week.

The stadium got planning permission in April this year, and land clearance work started in July 2018.

However, No Kingsford Stadium (NKS), which also operates as a charity, West Aberdeen Environmental Protection Association Ltd (WAEPAL) claims the City Council did not follow the correct procedure when it granted the permission in April.

The group petitioned for a judicial review and the legal process for this will start on Wednesday 19 December 2018.

The process will start with a “procedural hearing” at the Outer House of the Court of Session in Edinburgh and the public is able to attend the meeting.

Overseeing the hearing will be the Lord Ordinary – a judge who handles judicial reviews at the first stage.

All parties (Council, Aberdeen Football Club and WAEPAL) are expected to be represented by lawyers at the hearing.

The purpose of Wednesday’s hearing will be to satisfy the Lord Ordinary that all three parties have fulfilled all the requirements of the court and they are ready to proceed to the next stage, called a substantive hearing.

These requirements might include that particular documents are available or guarantees be given as to which paperwork will be made available.

It might also include ensuring that any factual claims made by either side are supported by evidence.

If the Lord Ordinary gives the green light, the substantive hearing would then take place over three days on January 29-31 next year.

A written statement will then be issued around three months later.

In May, Sarah Baillie, planning partner at Addleshaw Goddard LLP said: “The best the objectors can hope for is there has been a manifest error in the way the decision was taken and that error would have led to a refusal and so the planning permission is quashed and is back before the council for redetermination.

“There is nothing to then stop the council reaching the same conclusion again – this time in a legally valid way.”

She added: “There would also be nothing to stop a further application being submitted while the court case was ongoing.”

An Aberdeen City Council spokesman said: “We wouldn’t comment while the process is ongoing.”

Raymond Edgar, the Aberdeen FC project director, said: “We are confident the council followed the proper process in granting our planning consent and that this will be confirmed following the hearing.

“This excellent facility can then be completed, without further delay, for the greater good of the north-east community.”

An NKS spokesman said: “We will not be commenting at this time.”