ABERDEEN FC's proposal for a £50 million stadium has been supported by planning officials.

The ambitious plans for the 20,000-seater stadium and training facilities for the Kinsford area of the city, were put on hold in October.

Now city planning officers have recommended the project for approval with the city councillors due to vote on the plans on Monday.

The club says the new facilities are vital to its future.

The proposals have been opposed by the No to Kingsford group, which argues the scheme will create serious parking problems, and contravenes the local development plan.

Aberdeenshire Council also objected to the plans.

Planners recommended approval subject to conditions and conclusion of a planning obligation securing developer contributions relating to core paths, and setting up and operation of a public transport steering group.

The report by an development management manager Daniel Lewis said: "It is considered that the proposal would have significant public benefits for the region - both economic and social."

It said a thorough evaluation of potential sites had been carried out by officers and it was considered there were "no sequentially preferable sites" in the Aberdeen area for the stadium that are "available and deliverable at this time or in a reasonable timescale".

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"Given the lack of available or deliverable sites, it can be concluded that the public benefits will not be realised if approval is not given for the development on the site that is currently proposed," the report says.

"The proposal is unique - Aberdeen Football Club is the only sports club in the region with a region-wide fan base - that can potentially deliver the economic and social benefits envisaged - and as such approval of the stadium does not set an undesirable precedent for future applications for other sports stadia or other uses that would not deliver the same benefits or where land is specifically zoned for such uses."

It adds: "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."

The city council's economic development department also backed the project, pointing out that without the stadium, Aberdeen's European matches would have to be played in Dundee.


"Remaining at Pittodrie could present significant economic challenges in terms of the increased refurbishment costs this would involve and the difficulty in attracting additional major sporting events to the stadium. If this materialised, in turn it would have a negative impact on the reputation of Aberdeen city to compete for new and large scale events to the region that in turn contribute to the tourism/leisure objectives in the regional economic strategy," said the department.

But the Aberdeen City and Shire Strategic Development Planning Authority (SDPA), the Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire council partnership said it would have a "negative impact" on the city centre and questioned the justification for the need to co-locate the stadium with the training / community facilities on one site.

"The SDPA understands and supports the desire of AFC to improve its facilities but the proposed development in its current form and location remains contrary to the Aberdeen City and Shire Strategic Development Plan," it said. "The proposal would result in the loss of 25 hectares of greenbelt and the coalescence of urban areas (Westhill and Kingswells) would be an inappropriately located development."

Aberdeen FC chairman Stewart Milne said: "We are very pleased that the planners are recommending approval of our planning application."

It has been claimed the stadium and training ground would create more than 400 jobs and bring millions of pounds into the local economy.

HeraldScotland: Derek McInnes

Club manager Derek McInnes said other teams would "pull away" from Aberdeen FC if it did not get the new stadium.

An original pre-determination hearing was held in September.

A report in support of the project said the plans would create more than 440 construction jobs, and the stadium, sport and training facilities would bring millions of pounds into the economy.