Kingsford project chiefs say they have overcome council’s main objections to new £50 million Dons stadium

An artist's impression of the stadium.

Project bosses fighting to get a new stadium for Aberdeen FC have said key transport links could cope after critics raised concerns.

Some of those objecting to the new Kingsford Stadium and training ground complex for the Dons had claimed a proposed footbridge would be unable to accommodate the thousands of supporters leaving the ground at the end of games.

However, ahead of a crunch meeting next week, new research claims the footbridge is adequate.

A pre-determination hearing will take place on Wednesday to allow councillors to look at the new information provided by Aberdeen Football Club.

Aberdeen City Council is set to consider the fate of the plans to build the 20,000-seat stadium and community facilities at Kingsford in Westhill on January 29.

The controversial proposals for the new stadium have sparked both passionate support and opposition.

This is to be the second pre-determination hearing held into the stadium after a decision over the proposals was initially deferred pending additional consultation with the football club.

The council’s roads development management team said in the report to councillors: “In relation to the proposed pedestrian footbridge, further information was provided by the applicants to demonstrate adequate capacity.

“ACC roads department management considers that the applicant has adequately justified the methodology used to calculate capacity, and has shown that a 3m wide footbridge is sufficient to accommodate up to 4,320 pedestrians in the 30 minute-period following a match.

“The submitted transport assessment estimates that 3,380 supporters will use the bridge within this period.

“On this basis, it is concluded that the proposed pedestrian bridge has sufficient capacity to serve the development.”

A fresh consultation gave the public a chance to have their say on the £50 million plans.

Aberdeen City Council received 1,422 representations, but the local authority’s report noted: “The updated total of valid and timeously made representations received in relation to this application, including accounting for multiple submissions by a single respondent, is 10,705.

“Of these, 5,693 (53.2%) are in support of the proposal, 4,992 (46.6%) state objection, and 20 (less than 0.2%) are neutral in content.”

Aberdeenshire Council has continued its objection to the development.

The local authority said: “Aberdeenshire Council objects to the application on the grounds that the proposal in its current composition and location would be contrary to the Aberdeen City and Shire Strategic Development Plan (2014), which was up-to-date and relevant to the application.

“The proposal would result in the loss of green belt land, the coalescence of urban areas.

“Also, (it’s a inappropriately located development giving rise to unsustainable travel patterns, and would have a negative impact on the city centre in terms of its mix of uses and lost revenue.

“The application is contrary to the development plan and it is not considered that sufficient material considerations have been demonstrated that indicates the application should be supported.”

No Kingsford Stadium protesters seen during one of their demos

Raymond Edgar, project director for Kingsford, said the group was encouraged by the positives in the report set to go before councillors.

He said: “The main objections remain around loss of green belt and traffic and transportation.

“We believe our economic case demonstrates the benefits to both the local communities and the region’s economy and by far outweighs the need to maintain green belt status for the previous landfill site at Kingsford.

“We’ve produced a traffic management and transportation strategy which has satisfied Aberdeen City Council’s roads department and which we believe will make getting to and from the stadium safe and easy; with measures to mitigate any impact on local residents and road users during the 20 or so times per year this will be required.

“The pedestrian flows, bridge capacity and design have all been undertaken by our consulting engineers, Fairhurst who are experts in road and bridge design.

“The numbers are based on a maximum 20,000 stadium capacity. The capacity details and pedestrian flows have been reviewed by Aberdeen City Council roads development management who are satisfied they will work effectively.

“It is worth pointing out that the footbridge will only be used by those parking off-site.

“It’s in our interests to have a stadium that is easy and safe to get to and from. Should Kingsford secure planning consent, we will continue to work with the roads department and all stakeholders to have the most robust transportation and traffic management strategies in place.

“In the latest information provided to the planners, we have also once and for all demonstrated that there is no other site available or deliverable.”

A spokeswoman for the No Kingsford Stadium (NKS) group said: “The transport assessment significantly underestimates the use of private cars and the negative impacts on local infrastructure. The proposed footbridge is insufficient to address access because the predicted numbers of pedestrians is based on invalid assumptions within the Transport Assessment.”

The spokeswoman added the group felt the City Council would refuse the application as it is contrary to the local policy.