Aberdeen FC

Aberdeen stadium contracts go out to tender as work starts on new training facilities

The first contract for phase one of Aberdeen Football Club’s £50 million new stadium and training hub has been awarded with other contracts now out to tender to build the first phase of the development.

Yesterday the club celebrated breaking ground on phase one of its ambitious plans for a Community Hub, Professional Training Campus and Youth Development Academy at Kingsford.

Construction of the new facilities got underway when AFC manager, Derek McInnes, AFC Community Trust chief executive, Ally Prockter, and Lord Provost, Barney Crockett put the first spades in the ground.

The first phase of the development will include the construction of the training pavilion, groundsman’s accommodation, three professional training pitches, two 3G pitches and two grass pitches, the latter being mainly for use by Aberdeen Football Club’s Community Trust.

Aberdeen-based McIntosh Plant Hire now has the green light to begin the initial earthworks and ground remediation in preparation for the building works, which are due to commence in October 2018.

The total value of phase one is around £10m and the club has promised to appoint local firms “wherever possible”.

Contracts are due to be agreed in the coming weeks for work packages which include roads and sewers, construction of the pavilion and groundsman’s accommodation, formation of the pitches as well as all electrical, plumbing, heating and ventilation work.

The community sports hub and football training facilities will be completed in Summer 2019.

AFC manager Derek McInnes said: “This is a hugely significant milestone for the club as we embark on building long-awaited, best-in-class training facilities.

“Since I took on the role of manager at AFC I have been campaigning for better facilities so there’s a huge sense of relief and excitement today to see work beginning on-site.

“Dedicated, purpose-built facilities, adjacent to our new stadium, will be a major boost for the players and the coaching staff. They will help us attract and retain talent as well as providing an excellent base for community engagement and footballing excellence in the north of Scotland that will inspire future generations.”

With AFC now the official owner of the 25-hectare site at Kingsford, the club will begin consulting with Westhill and Elrick and Kingswells Community Councils and representatives from local sports groups to discuss the best use of the facilities.

The wider community benefits at the new complex will be delivered by the award-winning Aberdeen FC Community Trust (AFCCT), the club’s official charity partner established in 2014 to provide support and the opportunity to change lives for the better throughout the North-east.

The charity engages with more than 17,000 participants each year across 60 programmes and initiatives, with volunteers from the organisation delivering more than 5,000 hours of free community support in their spare time.

Ally Prockter, Aberdeen FC Community Trust’s chief executive, said: “These purpose-built facilities will help us support more individuals in communities and reach even more participants of all ages and from different walks of life.

“We currently don’t have sufficient space at Pittodrie or any kind of sporting or classroom facilities to call our own, which can make delivering many projects extremely challenging.

“We are extremely excited about moving to this inspirational setting to continue our work and respond to the needs of more individuals in communities, not just in the city but across the entire North-east.”

New Aberdeen stadium plans will not be called in by ministers

Aberdeen City Council’s decision to allow planning approval for Aberdeen Football Club’s new stadium at Kingsford will not be called in by ministers, the Scottish Government has confirmed.

The decision paves the way for the football club to replace its current home of Pittodrie with a £50 million stadium and training complex the other side of the city at Westhill.

Councillors in Aberdeen overwhelmingly approved plans for the development in January by 32 votes to nine after accepting the recommendation of planners to approve the project.

However the stadium plan has divided opinion in Aberdeen, with slightly over half of residents in favour of the relocation.

Aberdeenshire Council had also objected to the plans on parking grounds among others and, in doing so, ensured formal notification had to be given to Scottish ministers, who then had the opportunity to call in the application for determination.

But today the Scottish Government has told Aberdeen City Council that planning decision should rest with the local authority.

An Aberdeen City Council spokesperson said: “The Scottish Government has written to Aberdeen City Council today to say it is not going to call in the Kingsford Stadium planning decision, leaving it for the council to determine the planning application.

“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.

“The notification further said the Scottish Government expects Aberdeen City Council to have regard to the matters raised by Aberdeenshire Council. We will accordingly consider these matters and liaise with colleagues at Aberdeenshire Council on these matters as necessary.”

Reacting to the news, AFC chairman Stewart Milne said: “We welcome the Scottish Government’s confirmation that Aberdeen 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 next step is to progress the terms of the legal agreement with Aberdeen City Council and work with all stakeholders on agreeing and meeting the conditions.

“We will continue to work with the City, Aberdeenshire Council and the community in the lead up to and during construction. Together, we can deliver a first-class facility to be proud of that will unlock the potential of the Club, the Trust and the next generation of football stars, while making a positive contribution to the local economy.”

New Aberdeen stadium complex clears council planning hurdle

Aberdeen Football Club’s plans to build a new £50 million stadium and training complex at Kingsford have been overwhelmingly approved by Aberdeen City Council.

The club intends to replace their current home of Pittodrie with a 20,000-seater stadium and training complex on the other side of the city at Westhill.

Councillors yesterday debated a motion supporting the recommendation of planners to approve the project and an amendment from Councillor Marie Boulton, who wanted the application to be rejected.

The local authority backed the plans by 32 votes to nine.

Originally unveiled back in May 2016, the Kingsford stadium plan has divided opinion in Aberdeen, with slightly over half of residents in favour of the relocation.

Aberdeen FC said the new facilities are vital to its future and has claimed the stadium and training ground would create more than 400 jobs and bring millions of pounds into the local economy.

Objections have been raised on grounds including potential traffic issues and loss of green belt land.

The planning application was due to go before councillors for determination last October but was put on hold by the club to allow further discussions with the planning service.

Aberdeen FC chairman Stewart Milne said he was “very happy” after the decision.

The Stewart Milne Group executive chairman said: “After 17 years, we are one step closer to a new home that will allow us to meet our vision and ambition for Aberdeen Football Club, our city and our region. Together, we can deliver a first-class facility that will make us all proud, unlocking the potential of the Club, the Trust and the next generation of football stars and making a positive contribution to the local economy.

“We applaud the councillors for taking this decision in the face of considerable objections. We are fully aware of and sympathetic to those in Westhill and Kingswells who have objected to our plans and I want to reassure them once more that we want to engage with them to deliver community facilities they can all enjoy and benefit from.

“I’d like to sincerely thank all those who have supported our plans and the AURORA campaign: our fans, businesses, community groups, sports organisations and individuals.

“I’d also like to pay tribute to our team of advisers and experts who have worked professionally, effectively and tirelessly for almost two years on this application.

“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. Assuming these move at pace, we should be in a position to begin construction of phase one this summer.”

The plan still has to be approved by the Scottish Government and a series of planning conditions have to be met.

Planning officials had recommended that the proposals were approved provided there are no live concerts, no sporting fixtures before 7pm on a weekday and the training facilities are only open between 9am and 9pm.

Other conditions specified by the officers include a ban on hot food being sold within 150 metres of the ground, the training pitches close to the houses not being used beyond the “early evening” and the expansion of the footpath leading to the Prime Four Business Park.

Senior planner Gavin Evans told councillors that Aberdeenshire Council, which had earlier objected to the plans, could effectively still stop the application, over the issue of controlled parking zones.

Planners noted in their report: “Should members resolve to approve the application, due to the objection from Aberdeenshire Council, formal notification must be given to Scottish ministers, who would then have the opportunity to ‘call-in’ the application for determination.”

The plan’s opponents No Kingsford Stadium plan to pursue a judicial review of the council’s decision.

A spokesman said: “We have worked tirelessly to prevent the approval of this application.

“It is our view that council officials and councillors have failed in their duty to apply the law in this case and we will now progress our petition for judicial review.”

Should the plans go ahead the new stadium could be completed in time for the start of the 2020/21 season.

Planners recommend Aberdeen stadium for conditional approval

Aberdeen Football Club’s application for planning consent for a new stadium and associated training and community facilities at Kingsford has been recommended for approval by planners.

Planning officials said Aberdeen City Council should approve the proposals for the new 20,000 seat Kingsford stadium provided there are no live concerts, no sporting fixtures before 7pm on a weekday and the training facilities are only open between 9am and 9pm.

In total, the football club will have to agree to 40 stringent conditions before they can proceed with the £50 million project.

A full report on the proposal and its recommendations will be considered by councillors at a special meeting of the full council on Monday.

The report said: “It is considered that the proposal would have significant public benefits for the region – both economic and social.”

It explains: “Should members resolve to approve the application, due to the objection from Aberdeenshire Council, formal notification must be given to Scottish Minsters, who would then have the opportunity to ‘call-in’ the application for determination.”

Other conditions specified by the officers include a ban on hot food being sold within 150 metres of the ground, the training pitches close to the houses not being used beyond the “early evening” and the expansion of the footpath leading to the Prime Four Business Park.

Objections have been raised on grounds including potential traffic issues and loss of green belt land.

Aberdeen Football Club chairman, Stewart Milne, welcomed the recommendation and vowed to work hard with officers to address “both the real and perceived issues” about the new stadium.

The Stewart Milne Group executive chairman said: “We are very pleased that the planners are recommending approval of our planning application for a community sports hub, training facilities and new stadium at Kingsford.

“The additional information supplied in the last few months has helped reinforce the strength of our economic case and the need for co-location. We believe it also underlined that Kingsford is the only viable, suitable and therefore deliverable site for the club.

“We will meet the conditions and work hard to address both the real and perceived issues particularly around transportation and traffic management.”

The meeting to determine the application will begin at 10.30am in the council chamber at the Town House on January 29 and will be available to view as a live webcast.

Aberdeen FC stadium decision delayed for fresh consultation

Aberdeen FC stadium Kingsford 2The fate of Aberdeen Football Club’s new stadium at Kingsford will not be decided until the New Year after a second public consultation was announced on the £50 million proposals.

The club, which wants to replace Pittodrie with a 20,000-seat ground near Westhill, withdrew the proposals last month just days before it was due to be considered by Aberdeen City Council.

Now a second public consultation is to be launched after new information and documents were submitted by the club.

The fresh consultation will involve the renotification of neighbours, re-advertising the application, consulting the relevant external bodies and council services, all of which will occur during the middle of next week.

Aberdeen FC stadium KingsfordThe closing date for written representations to be submitted to the council will be December 12 with a hearing scheduled for January 17.

Raymond Edgar, project director for Kingsford, said: “While we had been hoping for a decision on our application before Christmas, we now have an agreed timetable with the council which will allow the proposals to be fully considered by councillors in January.

“Following the deferral in October, we have worked with the council planning officers to provide further reassurance that the club’s approach to selecting Kingsford complies with legal requirements.

“In addition, we have undeniably demonstrated there are no other suitable, available and sequentially preferable sites within the city which could accommodate the development.

“While the club recognises that the delay has been frustrating for all those who continue to back our plans, it’s vital that we have the best chance of securing the right decision.”

Dons target decision on new stadium plans by end of the year

Aberdeen FC stadium Kingsford 2

Aberdeen Football Club has issued an update on its long-running stadium development saga, saying that it now hopes a decision on the £50 million plans will be taken by councillors before the end of the year.

The club had put plans for the £50m stadium and training facilities at Kingsford, near Westhill, on hold.

Dons officials had  asked for a deferral earlier this month to give the club more time to discuss the project with planners.

Club chairman Stewart Milne said he was now hopeful the application could go before full council in December.

The club has said a new facility is vital to its future.

However, those opposed to the plans want the club to look elsewhere.

Aberdeen FC stadium Kingsford

Mr Milne said the club and its planning representatives were meeting regularly with council officers.

They are aiming to get the planning application before councillors by the end of the year.

Mr Milne said: “This delay is obviously disappointing.

“But it’s crucial that we have the best chance of getting the right decision.”

Mr Milne said if there was a positive decision in December, the aim would be for work to get under way early next year.

Aberdeen withdraws stadium plans

Aberdeen FC stadium Kingsford

Aberdeen Football Club’s planning application for proposed community and sports facilities, football academy, stadium and ancillary works at Kingsford will not now go before Councillors for determination next week.

In a statement the club said it had requested that the decision on the application be deferred to allow further discussions with the planning service.

AFC Chairman Stewart Milne said: “This is a once in a generation project with major implications for the Club, the city and the wider region. It is also an application with a degree of legal and planning complexity that needs to be carefully considered. We have therefore decided to request that our application be deferred to a future meeting of the full council.”

The move follows a long-running and increasingly fraught stand-off between the club and a local action group calling itself  No Kingsford Stadium that is vehemently opposing the plans.

Aberdeen FC stadium Kingsford 2

A spokeswoman for Aberdeen City Council said: “We can confirm that item 9(h), in relation to the application for planning consent for proposed community and sports facilities at West Kingsford, has been withdrawn from the agenda for the meeting of full council on 11 October at the request of the applicant, Aberdeen Football Club.

“Having regard to the nature of the application and the associated complexities, and in light of the public interest, the planning authority has acceded to the request on this occasion.

“The request has been made to enable the applicant to seek further discussions and clarification to take place with the planning authority. If necessary, further planning consultation will follow.”

Protest group No Kingsford Stadium said it was “unsurprised” by news of the deferral and called for the club to find the “right location”.

Aberdeen stadium decision delayed by four months for more information

Aberdeen FC stadium KingsfordA decision on Aberdeen Football Club’s plans to create a new £50 million football and community sports hub has been delayed following requests for further information.

The development at Kingsford was due to be discussed by councillors in June, but the club confirmed today that the application “now looks likely to be deferred until October”.

More information and clarification including environmental surveys has been requested by Aberdeen City Council as well as consultees to inform assessment of the application.

Aberdeen Football Club said it has already provided comprehensive information, reports and studies to support its detailed application in line with the planning process.

However, given that this is a major application and to ensure that all potential impacts are adequately assessed, the club ensured that it has carried out this additional work requested and submitted the relevant reports within the allotted timescale.

Aberdeen FC stadium Kingsford 2Executive vice chairman of Aberdeen Football Club, George Yule, said: “Although this is later than we had hoped, we are confident that, if planning permission is granted in October, we will still meet the original target timescales of completing the community sports campus and football training academy in 2018 and the new stadium for the 2020/21 season.

“We have already invested considerable resource, both internally and with our team of external experts, in developing a comprehensive planning application package. This important development will deliver real benefit in sporting, social and economic terms for stakeholders and we look forward to it being considered on its merits via the statutory planning process.

“We provided the additional information requested as part of a positive and co-operative two-way process between the club and the city council, both of whom are committed to ensuring that the application brought forward is considered rigorously against a comprehensive package of supporting information.”

The club has also released new images of the facings for the proposed stadium today which they say is an example of this on-going dialogue.

“These images show that AFC is taking on-board the feedback from the planners and has responded to their request for a design that softens the external façade of the building,” explained Mr Yule.

Aberdeen FC stadiumHe added: “A delay of a few weeks at this stage is not unduly concerning as we can make specific adjustments to our project schedule. However, further slippage, beyond October, or a negative outcome will result in us missing our target timescales and this will have a material impact on the Club’s ability to recruit and retain talent and to maintain our current position within Scottish football at a time when our football staff are delivering success for the city, the local community and the club.

“AFC ensures this region is profiled nationally and internationally and has further plans to enhance its reputation as a visionary organisation, competing successfully in domestic and European competition, with best in class facilities for our supporters, staff and players at all ages. We cannot deliver this vision and provide a positive role model for young people without suitable new facilities.”

Subject to planning approval, the proposals will see more than £50m invested to create a new home for the Dons; provide a base for the significant expansion of the work of the Aberdeen FC Community Trust programmes on social inclusion, participation in sport, life skills and healthy lifestyles for all ages across the region; and create a focal point for footballing excellence in the north of Scotland.

The project would be delivered in two phases, with the community and sports facilities and football academy constructed first and the stadium in the second phase.

The plans have drawn objections from Aberdeenshire Council regarding the impact increased traffic could have on the local area.

Aberdeenshire councillors object to Aberdeen FC’s £40m stadium plans

Aberdeen FC stadium KingsfordAberdeenshire Council has objected to Aberdeen FC’s plans to build a new £40 million stadium west of the city.

Under proposals lodged by the club in January, the football and community sports hub would be built on a 24.5 hectare site at Kingsford, close to the Aberdeen bypass, near Westhill.

The planning application includes community and sports facilities; a football academy comprising outdoor pitches, pavilion and ancillary buildings; and a 20,000-seat capacity stadium along with associated access roads, parking, landscaping and engineering works.

While the ultimate decision will be made by Aberdeen City Council in the summer, Aberdeenshire Council is being consulted on the plans.

Yesterday the local authority’s infrastructure services committee narrowly voted to object to the application after hearing a debate on the issue.

The vote was tied at seven apiece and the committee chairman cast the deciding vote.

Aberdeen FC stadium Kingsford 2Opponents to the Kingsford stadium are concerned about the impact increased traffic could have on the local area, but George Yule, executive vice chairman of Aberdeen FC said there are “no other available sites” for the stadium.

He said: “What we have got to do is ensure any valid concerns are addressed.

“I heard several times that we think it’s the right thing to do for Aberdeen, but not in our back yard. As a region, that’s unacceptable.”

Aberdeen FC lodges football and community sports hub plans

Aberdeen FC stadium KingsfordDetailed plans for the creation of a multi-million pound football and community sports hub for the north-east of Scotland have been lodged by Aberdeen Football Club and Aberdeen FC Community Trust.

The planning application to Aberdeen City Council for the 24.5 hectare site at Kingsford includes community and sports facilities; a football academy comprising outdoor pitches, pavilion and ancillary buildings; and a 20,000-seat capacity stadium along with associated access roads, parking, landscaping and engineering works.

Subject to planning approval, the proposals will see more than £40 million invested to create a new home for the Dons; provide a base for the significant expansion of the award-winning work of Aberdeen FC Community Trust on social inclusion, participation in sport and healthy lifestyles for all ages across the region; and create a focal point for footballing excellence in the north of Scotland.

The project would be delivered in two phases, with the community and sports facilities and football academy constructed first and the stadium in the second phase.

Aberdeen FC stadium Kingsford 2The restrictions of the Club’s no longer fit for purpose Pittodrie Stadium site, including the inability to develop co-located and dedicated training facilities, are an increasing barrier to its sustainable future.

George Yule, executive vice chairman of Aberdeen Football Club, said: “Our vision is to deliver essential community and training facilities and a new stadium, which will collectively support the ambitions of the Community Trust, Club and fans. This will create a focal point for footballing excellence and public participation in sport. This project is fundamental for the future of the Community Trust and the Club, and for maximising the benefits they can deliver for the city and region.

“The Club ensures this region is profiled nationally and internationally and has further plans to enhance its reputation as a visionary organisation, competing successfully in domestic and European completion, with best in class facilities for our supporters, staff and players at all ages. We cannot deliver this vision and provide a positive role model for young people without new facilities.

“Our extensive consultation during 2016 has informed the preparation of the detailed planning application. Our proposals are both workable and deliverable. This catalytic development will deliver in sporting, social and economic terms for our stakeholders and we look forward to it being considered on its merits via the statutory planning process.”

Duncan Skinner, chairman of Aberdeen FC Community Trust, added: “The Community Trust provides support and opportunity for people of all ages, and often to those in greatest need of a helping hand. Working in partnership with the Club, charities and public sector organisations, and our supporters, we deliver award-winning inclusion, health and wellbeing programmes. The Trust cannot increase the scope of its work without dedicated facilities and this development would enable it to extend its positive impact in the region and create new ways of engaging with multiple stakeholder groups.”