Aberdeen Football Club & Aberdeen FC Community Trust’s application for the development of a community and sports campus, football academy and stadium on land at Kingsford has been approved by Aberdeen City Council.

We need your support for this much needed and exciting new development which will underpin the Club’s ambitions both on and off the pitch in the long term.

We’ve prepared some mythbuster facts below:

The stadium will be seven storeys high and will dominate Westhill.

The stadium is a single tier structure and will not dominate Westhill.
The ‘Landscape & Visual Impact Assessment’ in the planning application provides detailed, accurate visualisations of how the development will integrate into the surrounding landscape. This assessment confirms that the proposals will in no way ‘dominate’ the setting of Westhill.

The stadium will cause high levels of light and sound pollution.

The fully enclosed stadium is designed to dramatically improve the match-day atmosphere and experience, by containing light and noise and therefore significantly reducing any impact out with the stadium itself.
Noise and light impacts have been assessed in detail as part of the planning application.

The development will bring no benefits to the local area.

The new community sports campus will be accessible to Kingswells and Westhill, two communities which are currently lacking such facilities.

The overall development represents around £50million of private investment in the region and will create jobs. More importantly, such an investment will signal confidence in the region which has been severely affected by the oil and gas downturn, and when combined with other sporting facilities in the city will help make the North-east a sporting powerhouse. Increasing facilities for and access to sport across our communities drives the region’s healthier, fairer and more inclusive agendas.

An influx of football supporters and away fans to the Westhill and Kingswells area will cause a high level of anti-social behaviour and hooliganism.

Instances of anti-social behaviour and hooliganism at AFC matches are few and far between. Over the whole of last season at Pittodrie, there were only 7 minor incidents and 6 arrests. It’s long been recognised that we largely have a responsible and family-oriented fan base.

The increased traffic on the roads will cause major congestion on the A944.

The robust strategy in the planning application sets out the proposals for the police to control access to and from the site at match times through traffic signals. Police Scotland have suggested that shuttle buses will be given priority to leave the site to reach the AWPR in minutes in order to clear the site with minimal disruption. Additionally, the Transport Assessment confirms that traffic flow on the A944 at match times, inclusive of football traffic, will be less than at weekday peak drive-time.

Some of the concerns around traffic congestion are borne out of existing roads infrastructure which do not take into account the opening of the AWPR which will happen before the stadium would be completed.

Furthermore, it must be recognised that our average attendance is around 13,300 for 20 home SPFL matches, plus any European or Cup Games and that not everyone drives. Realistically, we are talking about around 1,500 vehicles arriving at times ranging from two and half hours to 30 minutes before a match on average once every two weeks.

There is a significant flood risk in the area and there are no plans to mitigate this risk.

There is not a significant flood risk in the area. As part of the planning process a full flood risk assessment has been carried out with SEPA. There may be localised flooding from the Brodiach Burn, however the proposal has been designed to accommodate this, ensuring there are no additional impacts on watercourses as a result of the development.

The development is dangerously close to two pipelines.

The proposed development has been designed fully in accordance with current planning guidelines set by the Health & Safety Executive for a development near to pipelines. AFC has also had discussions with both owners of the pipelines outwith the East and West boundaries of the site. Neither have raised any concerns with our proposals.

The development will cause major issues for parking as there aren’t enough plans in place to deal with the number of cars.

Planning Policy provides guidelines for such developments as this, and we have established, taking all factors into account, that the right number of on-site parking is 1600 car parking spaces, which is in excess of maximum standards. Additional parking is also proposed in specific areas offsite – out with the local residential areas – and within walking distance of the site. These form the basis of ongoing discussions between the Club and a number of local businesses who are very supportive of the proposed development. In line with the overall sustainable regional transport strategy, there will be a strong emphasis on supporters using shuttle buses from various locations across the city and region to access the site. A strict and controlled parking zone will be proposed in the eastern part of Westhill to protect residents from unauthorised or nuisance parking similar to the conditions currently in place at Pittodrie Stadium on match-days.

There will be events at the new stadium every weekend of the year.

There will be around 20 first team matches every year, plus European or Cup games although these are not guaranteed. Under-20 and/ or Academy matches do not attract more than a few hundred spectators which represents no traffic and/or parking issues locally. Whilst there is scope for other one-off events such as concerts or major sporting events, these will not be a regular occurrence. Pittodrie has only hosted three concerts in the last 20 years.

House prices in the vicinity will decrease.

Bank of Scotland revealed last year that homeowners living near Scottish Premiership football stadia are experiencing a property boom. The data showed that house prices close to stadiums have increased by over a third over the last decade which is significantly higher than the 20% increase in average house prices across Scotland in the same period.

Further research by two economists, Gabriel Ahlfeldt, of the London School of Economics, and Georgios Kavetsos, of the Cass Business School, found the construction of a new stadium actually raised local property prices by as much as 15%. Their research found property prices within 5km of new stadiums rose significantly from the time plans to build were announced. General house price inflation could not explain the rises, the economists found, and nor could the transport improvements. The effect was highest very close to the stadium and diminished gradually with distance until disappearing at a distance of about 5km.

There are other more suitable sites.

The Club achieved planning consent for Loirston, Cove, however due to changes in Aberdeen City Council Policy part of the site that was allocated for stadium parking was rezoned when the decision was made to locate the New City South Academy at Loirston. This meant that there was then insufficient land available to deliver the Stadium there. Kings Links is not suitable as there are issues over the land ownership and the footprint is not large enough to incorporate a sports and community campus, training facilities and stadium.

There are no other sites available which can accommodate a development of this size within or on the boundaries of the city.

Pittodrie could be redeveloped.

Pittodrie could be redeveloped but the reality is that, to meet current UEFA conditions, the redevelopment would result in capacity being reduced to 12,000 which would have a significant impact on finances at the club, causing us to struggle to be financially viable, able to compete at the top of Scottish football, and impossible to compete in Europe.

The development at Pittodrie would have to be carried out over a 3-4 year period, causing major disruption to the Club, its fans, and the local residents. For example, during this period, the Club would have to play any European games in Edinburgh or Glasgow.

The cost of redeveloping a much-reduced capacity stadium would be similar to building a new 20,000 seater stadium – without the benefits of top-class training facilities and no community facilities.

Furthermore, by not being able to sell the Pittodrie site, we would lose around £18m of the funding for development.