Dons chiefs have overcome a key hurdle in their bid to build a £50 million stadium on the outskirts of Aberdeen.
Aberdeen FC received planning permission from Aberdeen City Council in January but there was a risk the Scottish Government could “call in” the decision, meaning it could trigger a second decision-making process.
Ministers have now decided no call-in is necessary, so the project can now progress.
Dons boss Derek McInnes today hailed the move.
He said: “It is a fantastic decision. I am absolutely delighted we have managed to overcome that part of the process.”
Chairman Stewart Milne said: “We welcome the Scottish Government’s confirmation that the city council can proceed to determine our planning application. We are keen to begin construction of the community and training facilities as soon as possible.”
The Scottish Government considers a call-in if another local authority objects to an application.
In this case, Aberdeenshire Council said the application was unacceptable and should have been refused due to the impact on neighbours.
A city council spokeswoman said: “The Scottish Government said in the notification that the issues raised by Aberdeenshire Council ‘are not of national significance to have bearing’ on the decision not to call it in.”
Aberdeenshire Council’s head of planning and building standards Robert Gray said: “Aberdeenshire Council is disappointed to note the decision of Scottish Ministers not to intervene in the determination of the application for the new stadium and community facilities at Kingsford, Aberdeen.
“We were of the view that the application, which is within Aberdeen City but will lie on the boundary between the two council areas, was unacceptable and should have been refused.
“However, as Scottish Ministers have now indicated that the city council can proceed to determine the application, we will seek to be involved to get the best possible outcome for the area.
“One of the main priorities in this process has been to protect the residents and amenity of Westhill from the development and, in particular, to ensure options were fully considered to effectively control parking outside the stadium grounds and allow the safe crossing of the A944 between the stadium and Arnhall Business Park.
“The position of Scottish Ministers and decision taken by the city council leaves a number of unanswered questions about these matters which have not been fully considered, meaning they could be open to challenge or run the risk of not being delivered.
“We are already in discussion with colleagues at the city council in an attempt to resolve these points and are similarly happy to have that discussion with the applicant.”
A No Kingsford Stadium spokeswoman said: “We acknowledge the Scottish Government’s decision to not call in the application.
“This now leaves the way clear for the decision to be examined through the courts.
“We believe the decision by the city council is unlawful and we will seek to prove the council has failed to legally process and consider this application.”