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Kingswells Old News

Updated: 8 April 2002

DONS' OFFICIALS SAY BADGERS WON'T AFFECT KINGSWELLS PLANS: BADGER sightings near the proposed site of the Dons' new stadium will not scupper plans to move to Kingswells, according to club officials.

Residents to the west of the site say badgers are regular nocturnal visitors to their gardens, leaving fur on fences and claw marks in borders.

Their protected status could hinder the club's plans to build a £30million stadium at Bellfield Farm but club officials say the proposed site is badger free.


Picture from scottish-badgers.com
Alexandra Humphries, who lives at Upper Fifeshill on the far side of the Kingswells to Cults road, said badgers had been spotted recently.

"I didn't realise there were badgers here until my daughter saw them. Much to my disappointment I haven't seen them."

She said her daughter had spotted a badger last November. It had ambled across the lane in front of her car.

Neighbours have also reported badgers moving across fields, she said.

Mrs Humphries added that many people were concerned about the impact a football stadium would have on wild animals and vegetation.

"We have a lot of wildlife here and are really quite concerned about the greenbelt land. People come out here to walk and se the foxes or deer."

The Scottish Wildlife Trust and Scottish Natural Heritage are investigating the area for the tell-tale signs of badgers.

The Protection of Badgers Act 1992 makes it an offence to kill or harm badgers, or to interfere with their setts.

A spokeswoman for Scottish Natural Heritage said: "If badgers are proven to be present then the local authority has to take it into account when making planning decisions. It is likely that certain conditions would be placed on any planning consent."

Licensed badger experts could be brought in to ensure that their foraging grounds are preserved or that setts are protected.

In some cases, badgers have been moved to new homes.

However, an environmental assessment, commissioned by the club, concluded that badgers would not be disturbed by the planned stadium.

But it did find evidence of a population living around Upper Kingshill, to the west of the site.

A spokesman for Aberdeen Football Club said: "Yes there are badgers roundabout but there is no evidence that there are badgers on the site itself." By ROB CRILLY (Press and Journal 05 February 2002)

BADGERS COULD SINK STADIUM - Aberdeen Football Club's plans to relocate to a purpose built £30million stadium in Kingswells could run into a fresh hurdle - badgers. The club's move to a green belt site in the area has never been far from controversy with strong local objection to the development.

Now protesters claim that badgers have set up home on the middle of the proposed site, which means laws protecting the species could force the club to abandon their plans.

The proposed site on farmland to the south of the suburb is also earmarked to contain a hotel, football academy, sports hall, fast-food outlet and commercial and community developments, which the club claims will benefit the local community.

The club hope the Scottish Executive will invest as much as £20million in the proposed £30million stadium and leisure complex - if Aberdeen is eventually included in the joint Scottish and Irish bid to host the European Football Championships in 2008.

Opponents claim a Kingswells stadium would spark a traffic nightmare and have demanded studies of a rival site at Charlestown , south of Aberdeen on the A90.

Last night, Kingswells Community Council secretary Barrie Buchan said: " The community Council has had badgers reported to them by a lady who lives in that area. "We cannot ignore them and feel they need protection."

However, an AFC spokesman last night had never heard of the badger issue before. (Press and Journal Monday February 4, 2002)

FIGURES FOR NEW BUS SERVICE SHOW SLUMP: THE latest park-and-ride figures for Aberdeen have shown a drop following the festive period.

Bridge of Don figures released yesterday, revealed that between Monday, January 14, and Saturday, January 19, 2,598 cars used the service compared with 3,243 between November 12-18.

Statistics for Kingswells also showed a drop, with 838 cars using the system for the same period in January compared with 923 for the week in November.

Council leader Len Ironside was unconcerned about the drop in figures and said it was to be expected for the time of year.

He said: "We would expect something of a slump in numbers following the busy Christmas and New Year periods, but I am delighted that figures have remained steady at what is traditionally a quieter time of year."

In the run-up to Christmas, figures for Kingswells soared to 1,722 vehicles using the scheme during the second week in December.

The Kingswells service got of to a rocky start in October. Barely 100 motorists used the scheme during its first two weeks of operation.

Councillors rejected claims that it had lost money.

The park-and-ride scheme also attracted criticism after the route was changed at the 11th hour and it emerged that almost £200,000 had been spent on preparation of the previous route. (Posted 22 January 2002) http://www.thisisnorthscotland.co.uk/

FOOTBALL PLAN STATEMENT - VIEWS SOUGHT: The consultation period for views on an Environmental Statement relating to Aberdeen Football Club's application for a regional centre for sporting and leisure excellence at Kingswells opens this week.

Those wishing to make a comment on the statement have until February 15 to write to Aberdeen City Council's Planning and Strategic Development Department.

The statement, which incorporates an environmental impact assessment and transport assessment of the proposal, is available, along with the planning application papers, for public inspection at the Planning Department, 8th floor St Nicholas House.

Aberdeen Football Club is also making the statement available at all public libraries from Wednesday (January 16).

Copies have also gone to Kingswells Community Council and to Cults, Bieldside and Milltimber Community Council.

Copies of the statement can also be purchased from Barton Willmore Partnership, 12 Alva Street, Edinburgh, EH2 4QG at a cost of £150 including postage and packaging (without the appendices) or £300 (with all appendices).

* Aberdeen City Council's Planning Director Peter Cockhead is recommending that a Departure Plan Hearing be held into the football club's application to build a "regional centre for sporting and excellence" including a 30,000 seater football stadium at Kingswells.

In a report to the Planning Committee, which meets on Thursday (Jan 17), Mr Cockhead says that the application has led to "a substantial number of objections and has caused a high degree of local interest and controversy".

He adds: "Accordingly it is recommended that in these circumstances it is appropriate to hold a hearing in order to debate the proposed development."

A hearing will not be held until the consultation process is completed and planning officials have made a full assessment.

Mr Cockhead says that there have been 1,459 letters of objection and one letter of support for the application. (Posted 15.1.2002)

Plans provided by kind permission of Aberdeen Football Club (11.1.2002)

Master Plan

GLOSSY BROCHURE FAILS TO WIN KINGSWELLS COUNCIL'S SUPPORT: Kingswells residents said last night they remained strongly opposed to the stadium plans, even after seeing more in-depth images for the new stadium provided by Aberdeen Football Club.

Community council members, who are spearheading opposition in the village to the development, were not swayed by the tempting lure of images showing how indoor bowls, go karting and 10-pin bowling facilities would look from their doorsteps.

The group's secretary, Barrie Buchan, said of the new images contained in a booklet released by AFC: "There is nothing new in it. It is just more of the same, except it is in colour. It is just a glossy brochure and even as a glossy brochure it has got very little substance to it.

"It is the same as the outline plan. Our stance is totally unchanged."

Mrs Buchan continued: "It does show that the community facility is a piece of land to accommodate a competition-size swimming pool and that is in black and white for the first time.

"Do Aberdeen City Council have the resources for a swimming pool, all-weather hockey pitch and the other facilities for the Kingswells community?

"The people of Kingswells have put their feelings across in a poll to the community council and 93% of people in Kingswells said quite categorically they did not want it."

The Dons plans for the 112-acre Kingswells site are centred on a new 30,000-seater stadium for AFC and would create a regional centre of excellence for sport in Scotland.

The plans show the heart of the scheme would be a central piazza. This would be linked to neighbouring Kingswells and the adjacent park-and-ride facility by a pedestrian route known as Pittodrie Way. The existing tree-lined lane at the eastern edge of the site would be retained as a pedestrian link to Hazlehead Park and the golf course to the south.

Off the piazza, there would be a sports science building, 10-pin bowling, an ice-rink and two catering/dining outlets. Also included in the plans are an indoor bowls hall, five-a-side football and go-karting.

To the south of the stadium, there would be a golf academy with driving range and the Scottish Football Academy, comprising five full-size football pitches along with teaching facilities. The community facility would have a competition-sized swimming pool, diving and training pools, a hockey hall and all-weather hockey pitch.

To the north of the stadium, there would be a hotel.

The western portion of the site would be given over to a significant structural landscaping scheme, including a protected corridor for the proposed Western Peripheral Route.

Aberdeen City Council's planning committee will be asked to support the move for a public hearing into the stadium proposals when it meets next Thursday.

Planning director Peter Cockhead will ask members to support the idea because the application had led to "a substantial number of objections and . . . controversy". The council revealed on Wednesday that it had received almost 1,500 objections to the plans.

By GEOFFREY BEW 11 January 2002 http://www.thisisnorthscotland.co.uk/

PRESSURE MOUNTS FOR PROBE INTO STADIUM PLAN: CITY planners are being urged to back moves for a public hearing into Aberdeen Football Club's Kingswells stadium proposals after Aberdeen City Council confirmed yesterday there had been almost 1,500 objections.

The planning committee, which meets next Thursday will be asked to support the move by planning director Peter Cockhead because the application had led to "a substantial number of objections and has caused a high degree of local interest and controversy".

The stadium plays a central role in Scotland's bid to host the Euro 2008 championships but the application sparked concerns from a host of community groups and residents in and around the Kingswells area.

The objections relate to concerns about increased traffic congestion, access for emergency vehicles, insufficient parking, noise pollution and the impact on wildlife.

There are also concerns about the possible impact on property values, insufficient facilities for fans and the difficulties of policing fans around the stadium if it is used for concerts.

A host of community groups including Kingswells Community Council, Kingswells Infrastructure First Group, Braeside and Mannofield Community Council, Aberdeen Civic Society and Friends of the Earth in Aberdeen have objected.

Outline planning permission is being sought for the Don's plans for a 30,000-seater stadium, soccer academy, hotel, and leisure facilities including a pool and hockey pitches.

The Pittodrie side is due to lodge an environmental statement with the council tomorrow as part of its application.

In a statement last night AFC chief executive Keith Wyness said it would be inappropriate for the club to comment on the objections at this time.

He said: "The traffic and environmental impact assessments will be in the public domain next week and we will be keenly listening to and addressing the comments as and when they arise."

Mike Dunbar, deputy chairman of the Kingswells Infrastructure First Group, hoped the city council would listen to the concerns of residents.

He said: "The group has been aware for some time just how strong the weight of feeling is against the stadium proposal across the city.

"The 1,459 objections confirmed by Aberdeen City Council would tend to confirm this feeling of opposition.

"In the spirit of conciliation we would hope that the council will use the opportunity to demonstrate that they are listening to the citizens of Aberdeen, and acting upon their instructions, by using the time which is still available to help the club to bring forward a new proposal which does not involve siting a football stadium in green belt surrounded by country lanes.

"KIFG remains hopeful that Scotland will succeed in attracting Euro 2008 to this country."

Duncan Fraser, vice-chairman of the Aberdeen Supporters Trust, said while the organisation appreciated the concerns of residents, it was hoped the plans for a public hearing would not jeopardise Aberdeen's role in the Euro 2008 bid.

He said: "We hope that if a public hearing is to be held it will be concluded reasonably quickly and does not affect the Euro 2008 bid."

By LEAH WILLIAMSON 10January 2002 http://www.thisisnorthscotland.co.uk/

 

PROPOSALS FOR TENNIS CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE: Aberdeen City Council officials are set to study in detail proposals by a local company to develop Westburn Tennis Centre into a 'centre of excellence' including multi-use leisure facilities.

The approach to the Council to develop and enhance the existing facilities are revealed in a report to be discussed by the Education and Leisure Committee next week (Monday, January 14).

The indicative plans for the development include:

* An additional six indoor tennis courts.

* Provision of fitness and health facilities.

* Provision of a small swimming pool.

* Provision of outdoor artificial multi-use sports areas for primarily tennis and football.

* The re-development of Westburn House as a sports museum with ancillary facilities.

The report to the committee says that the existing council operated Westburn Tennis centre has four courts and operates at 85 per cent capacity. The evening use at the centre is at saturation demand outpacing supply and daytime and summer use is also high with usage at approximately 60-80 per cent.

The proposal; is that there should be a partnership between the council and the local company with the following objectives:

* To develop Western Tennis Centre as a Tennis Centre for Excellence for Aberdeen and the North-east.

* To maximise income generation opportunities from missing complimentary leisure activities on the site.

* To re-invest surpluses into the development of tennis with the city with the refurbishment of outdoor tennis courts being a priority.

* To develop a sustainable way in which to manage future maintenance requirements.

* To link existing facilities within the park into an overall management plan.

* To re-open and revitalise Westburn House as part of the management plan.

The report goes on to say: "This proposal identifies Westburn Tennis Centre as the hub for tennis activity in the city. The tennis development opportunities generated from the proposal includes integrating the work of the Tennis Development Officer with that of the centre and also to expand the role to include the setting up of Community Tennis Clubs across the city and also linking more actively with tennis clubs.

"It is envisaged that this proposal will encourage more and new school use of the facility. It is anticipated that local schools will utilise both the indoor tennis courts and the outdoor facilities during summer and winter and this would be included in the business plan.

"In addition the Scottish Lawn Tennis Association has already indicated their requirement for additional court time, which can not be satisfied within the existing facility. This would also contribute and promote the concept of a tennis Centre of Excellence for Aberdeen and the North-east."

The report says that due to funding restrictions it is unlikely that the City Council would be able to develop facilities on its own. At the present time the annual operation loss fluctuates between £38,000 and £56,000. The proposal would mean that with a new partnership there should be no annual losses and in fact the facilities would in the longer term generate a surplus.

It is stressed that officers need to look at the plans in detail with an option appraisal taking place. Also the report points out that the result of a Scottish Executive planning inquiry into proposals for a new tennis centre near Kingswells is expected soon and the result will have implications for this new proposal. (Posted 10.1.2002)

HEARING PROPOSED FOR KINGSWELLS FOOTBALL STADIUM PROPOSALS
COUNCIL RECEIVES 1,459 LETTERS OF OBJECTION

Aberdeen City Council's Planning Director Peter Cockhead has recommended that a Departure Plan Hearing be held into Aberdeen Football Club's application to build a "regional centre for sporting and excellence" including a 30,000 seater football stadium at Kingswells.

In a report to the Planning Committee, which meets on Thursday, January 17, Mr Cockhead says that the application has led to "a substantial number of objections and has caused a high degree of local interest and controversy".

He adds: "Accordingly it is recommended that in these circumstances it is appropriate to hold a hearing in order to debate the proposed development."

This Council will receive later this week an Environmental Statement, incorporating an environmental impact assessment and transport assessment of the proposal. This will be advertised allowing the public 28 days to make representations. A hearing will not be held until that consultation process is completed and planning officials have made a full assessment.

Mr Cockhead says that there have been 1,459 letters of objection and one letter of support for the application.

The objectors include Kingswells Community Council; Braeside and Mannofield Community Council; Bucksburn and Newhills Community Council; Kingswells Infrastructure First Group; Aberdeen Civic Society; Friends of the Earth (Aberdeen); the Association for the Protection of Rural Scotland and TRNASform Scotland.

Mr Cockhead says that the objections relate to:

* Increased traffic congestion including problems on the wider road network.

* Inadequate road network to cope with additional traffic.

* New junction on A944 will impede the free flow of traffic.

* During match times access for emergency vehicles to surrounding area will be impeded.

* The Western Peripheral Route may never be built.

* Insufficient parking will result in overspill into Kingswells and park and ride site.

* The use of other park and ride sites by spectators will be at the expense of other users.

* The proposal is contrary to the Council's objective of reducing traffic.

* The development is not accessible by rail or readily accessible by bus, cycle or on foot.

* Noise and nuisance arising from crowds, PA systems and light pollution.

* The impact on the landscape setting of and the approach to the city.

* Introduction of urban development into the green belt and the loss of farmland.

* The scale of development, particularly the size of the stadium.

* The impact on wildlife and birds in the area and the loss of trees and field boundaries.

* The proximity of the development to the crematorium.

* Impact on air quality.

* Impact on drainage and sewage systems.

* The facilities will not be convenient for the residents of Kingswells.

* It will encourage social exclusion and not inclusion.

* Retail elements will affect viability of Kingswells and Westhills centres.

* The proposal is contrary to the Development Plan and National Planning Policy Guidance.

* Difficulties in policing fans in and around stadium for concerts.

* Disturbance from possible use of stadium for concerts.

* Problems resulting from the amount of snow in the Kingswells area.

* There is no need for a 30,000 stadium capacity.

* The proposed modification to the Structure Plan is for a stadium only.

* Insufficient facilities on site, such as pubs, for fans.

* Impact on the recreational value of the area.

* Impact of property values.

* Kingswells has been chosen for financial reasons only.

* An undesirable precedent for development in the green belt.

* There is a better alternative site at Charleston which has been identified for development, not in the green belt, has easy access to the A90, has potential for a rail halt and would enhance the landscape.

Mr Cockhead says that the application is for outline planning permission for a "regional centre of sporting excellence" which incorporates the football stadium, soccer academy, competition swimming pool, sports hall, outdoor hockey pitch plus ancillary community and commercial developments.

The report adds that the community and commercial developments are likely to include a golf academy including driving range, curling facilities, indoor bowling, 10 pin bowling, go-karting, 5-a-side football, sports science facilities, hotel and fast food establishments.

KINGSWELLS COUNCILLOR DENIES CONFLICT OF INTEREST ON PRIMARY: A Kingswells councillor has denied conflict of interest in his role in plans for a school there.

Councillor David Maitland is on the building project team which has been meeting for the past year to drive forward proposals for the new Kingswells Primary School.

He is also a member of Aberdeen City Council's planning committee, which will decide whether the scheme goes ahead. At its meeting on Monday night, Kingswells Community Council claimed that it would be "unfortunate" if he continued to serve on both.

The comments were prompted by a statement by Mr Maitland on the Kingswells.com website in September.

"The project team will co-ordinate meetings to discuss the design of our new facility," he wrote. "This consultation process will acknowledge comments, suggestions and complaints before moving forward to the necessary planning procedures. Due to the fact that the new school will be the subject of a planning application, I cannot comment on whether I am in favour of the new school."

The community council is calling upon Aberdeen City Council to allow one of its members to represent the views of Kingswells residents on the building project team. It has already set up an action group to co-ordinate local views. Barrie Buchan, who heads that group, said: "After Councillor Maitland made that statement, I just wondered whether there was a conflict of interest."

Mr Maitland yesterday insisted no such conflict existed. As a member of the council's planning committee, he is barred from commenting on planning applications before they have been discussed.

He says it doesn't matter whether he is for or against the development since his role on the project team is to channel the views of the people of Kingswells. He said: "I'm on the project team as the local elected member. I also happen to be a parent.

"My role is to represent the views of the Kingswells community in discussions.

"A lot of people want this new school, but there have been a lot of objections to the proposals too on the grounds of noise, parking etc. and they all have to be taken into account. If people have views on the new school, I would hope that they would come to me with them, as many people have done already, so that I can make them heard. That is a job for the local elected member - not a self-appointed group like the community council."

Primary one and nursery pupils are being taught in portable buildings some way away from the main school building. Aberdeen City Council intends to accommodate all pupils in two buildings on the current school site. The project team comprises Mr Maitland, councillor Jurgen Thomaneck, convener of Aberdeen Council's leisure and recreation committee, Kingswells headteacher Anne Begg and a representative of the school board.

Members of the council's education and technical departments advise when their expertise is needed.

"It's difficult to say when work will start on the new school," added Mr Maitland.

"The funding is in place, but the project team has to complete its process before a planning application can be lodged."

by MORAG LINDSAY 09 January 2002 http://www.thisisnorthscotland.co.uk/

UPMARKET DEVELOPMENT LEFT OUT IN THE COLD: Residents in a luxury housing development were left out in the cold during the recent blizzards when a planning wrangle left their roads blocked by snow.

Aberdeen City Council refused to send a snowplough or gritting lorry to Wellside Wynd, Kingswells, because developer Persimmon Homes had not completed the road to a satisfactory standard.

Householder Alan Stott claimed repeated calls to Persimmon Homes resulted in a private digger being sent out on just two occasions.

"And that was about as much use as a chocolate kettle," he added. "No grit or salt was put down so we were left with an extremely slippery and dangerous road.

"This is something which people must be made aware of when they buy houses in new developments. Ours was finished two years ago and the roads have since failed two inspections by the council.

"We're told there will be another one in January but, until the road passes the council's checks, it won't be adopted as a public road and the council won't take responsibility for it."

Kingswells Community Council is to investigate after Mr Stott raised his complaints at its meeting on Monday.

"It's not just a problem for Persimmon Homes," said Mr Stott. "Nearly all the developers in Kingswells have been slow to complete their roads to a standard which the council will adopt."

Hugh Murdoch, Aberdeen Council's head of roads management, admitted the problem was often "a grey area" for new-house buyers.

"At the outset, developers submit detailed plans of the layout and construction of the roads and lighting," he said.

"The council then goes round before the contractor comes off site and checks for defects like broken kerbs and loose manholes. It's up to the contractor to rectify them before the council will take the road on and maintain it as a public road.

"It may take several years before a development is completed and the adoption of the roads will also take several years. On many estates, you'll find the road just runs out. We can't send gritters out and risk them getting stuck in that situation.

"If people are experiencing problems, it's something they should take up with their developer."

Sid Fowler, construction director for Persimmon Homes (East Scotland) Ltd, said yesterday: "We expect all work on the roads at our Kingswells development to be completed by spring of this year. We hope this resolves the issue to the satisfaction of any concerned residents."

 

December Park And Ride Figures: Park and Ride figures were maintained to a very high level throughout December, with the newer service, serving residents in the Kingswell area, continuing to produce healthy returns.

During December there were 7155 vehicles and a total of 13,810 passengers utilising the Kingswells service. Numbers obviously increased during the lead up to Christmas.

The longer-established Bridge of Don Park and Ride scheme also continues to attract high percentage figures.

During December, 18,103 vehicles and 35, 164 passengers using the service.

Council Leader, Len Ironside, said: "With the obvious increase in traffic with people returning to work and children returning to school after the Christmas break, Park and Ride provides the ideal alternative for those in Kingswells and the Bridge of Don areas."
(Posted 7.1.2002)

Kingswells Park And Ride Figures Rise Again: Park and Ride figures from Kingswells have risen for the second successive week, with almost 400 more vehicles utilising the service over the past seven days.

Last week, a total of 1344 vehicles used the Park and Ride service, and this week the total amounted to 1722, an increase of 378.

The figures for the past week were as follows: - Monday - 161; Tuesday - 175; Wednesday - 185; Thursday - 214; Friday - 205; Saturday - 466; Sunday - 316.

Council Leader, Len Ironside, said: "The news of just how good a service this really is obviously spreading and it's very welcome to hear that numbers are steadily increasing.

"Obviously part of the increase is due to those who are undertaking their Christmas shopping and we hope that having realised how good the service is, these users will continue to utilise the service into the New Year." (Posted 11.12.2001)

Scottish Executive. The hearing due on the 21st January has been 'sisted' for 2 months. At the end of January 2002 the appellants (SMG) will be asked by the SE if they wish to proceed or whether a further period of time is required. If they are to proceed then new dates for statements of case etc will have to be set.

Reason cited is the delays associated with the new structure and local plans. (Posted 28.11.2001)

FOR: "I WANT THE DUNCAN SHEARER MOMENTS BACK AND I'LL DO WHAT I HAVE TO TO GET THEM" LIFELONG Dons fan John Stephen launched the AFC 2000 group after one dismal season too many in the 1990s.

Since then the tiny action group has mushroomed into the AFC Shareholders Trust - an 800-strong organisation boasting Willie Miller and the Lord Provost among its ranks, and a 7% stake in the club.

John is now chairman of that trust and still takes a pride in being a thorn in the side of the club he loves.

"I'm doing this for my son," he insisted. "I had some of my best times going to Pittodrie as a lad in the 1970s but until this season he's hardly seen a good game. I want the Duncan Shearer moments back and I'll do what I have to to get them."

As shareholders, John and fellow members are entitled to attend AGMs and vote on crucial issues. "It's all about giving fans a greater say," he said.

If fans were unhappy about Aberdeen's proposed move to Kingswells, you feel John Stephen would be leading the opposition.

Instead he gave the new stadium his blessing this week - providing it's part of Scotland's bid to host the European Championships in 2008. If the bid fails, he'll urge the club to go back to the drawing board and consult fully with fans on ALL the options - including staying put at Pittodrie.

A recent straw poll by the trust found 80% of members were in favour of the Dons hosting Euro 2008.

John's planning a second poll this week to help him put together a more detailed picture of feelings about the Kingswells site.

"We do have concerns about the lack of consultation and also about the site at Kingswells," he said. "But the SFA have put a very tight timescale on things and we appreciate that's made it difficult for the club to consult everyone beforehand.

"They have said that if Scotland doesn't get the 2008 championships they'll come back and consult fully with the fans. I would certainly expect them to do so - and that includes telling us why Pittodrie is not suitable for redevelopment.

There's still a reluctance about moving amongst the 35-plus age group," he added. "Pittodrie is part of the club's heritage and it has a history for the older fans which you have to respect."

Jack Douglas is chairman of the Association of Aberdeen Supporters Clubs, an umbrella organisation representing 60 Dons supporters clubs and around 6,000 fans across the UK.

"We're behind the plans," he said. "For now everyone involved with the club needs to have a positive approach and spend all our time and energy on the 2008 bid.

"But if the bid doesn't go ahead - and the money we're hoping to receive from the Scottish Executive towards a new stadium isn't available - the club will have to take a step back and reassess its plans."

Beyond Kingswells at least, the Dons have been applauded for their attempts to spread the word about their proposals.

The club embarked on a series of public meetings after announcing the stadium plans on October 25. The roadshow has visited Pittodrie, Stonehaven, Banff, Inverurie and Dunblane in a bid to gather rank and file support for the move.

Dons chief executive officer Keith Wyness insists it's paying off.

"Overwhelmingly people are telling us they're in favour of the stadium and in favour of Kingswells as a location," he said.

Mr Wyness says he understands people's concerns about traffic but insists they've nothing to fear.

"I don't want a stadium in a place people can't get to," he said this week. "There's no point in us building a new facility if the fans are going to be stuck in traffic on the way there."

The club has commissioned independent studies on the likely impact of the development on traffic and the environment. The results of both should be made public in December.

Mr Wyness said the club will then sit down with Aberdeen City Council and the Scottish Executive to devise a solution to potential traffic problems.

"We will deliver a traffic management solution which will mean the same amount, or even less, traffic on those roads than currently exists at peak times between Monday and Friday."

Mr Wyness is pinning his hopes on fans using the new park and ride service at Kingswells to get to and from the stadium.

"When Southampton built their new 30,000-seater stadium, they left parking space for just 200 cars," he said, "and the vast majority of supporters now use park and ride." By

MORAG LINDSAY: 27 November 2001 http://www.thisisnorthscotland.co.uk/

AGAINST: "PEOPLE IN THE TOWN ARE TALKING ABOUT LITTLE ELSE AND NONE ARE IN FAVOUR" DEREK Martin thought he would be spending his retirement studying for a theology degree at Aberdeen University and helping his wife in her voluntary work as a puppy walker for the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association.

Instead, the Kingswells grandad fills his days galvanising opposition to Aberdeen Football Club's plans for a new stadium close to his Kingswells home.

With neighbour Mike Dunbar, he formed the Kingswells Infrastructure First Group (KIFG) in June, when the football club's plans were nothing more than speculation.

Since then the pair have mounted a high-profile campaign against the stadium proposal, organising meetings, consulting planning experts, liasing with protesters in other parts of the North-east and guiding folk who wish to go about lodging objections with the council, Scottish Executive and Scottish Football Association.

Yesterday was the closing date for comments on the planning application to be sent to Aberdeen City Council but Mr Martin insists his fight is far from over. This week he is giving evidence to a public inquiry into plans to build on the green belt at nearby East Middlefield and recruiting marchers for a Boxing Day rally.

It's with a wry smile that he admits all this opposition is being mounted from a house built by Dons chairman Stewart Milne's construction group.

"It's never been an argument put forward by our group," stressed Mr Martin: "But a lot of people have objections that the value of their houses will fall.

"A lot of people have bought Stewart Milne homes in Kingswells and the fact that this development by his football club may make it difficult for them to sell those homes is very much on their minds.

"A few years ago, Stewart Milne Homes were selling houses here with the slogan 'City Living, Country Life'. Now people here are saying 'city living, what kind of a life?'"

Kingswells councillor David Maitland chaired a public meeting in Kingswells Community Centre on November 15 which ended in angry scenes as around 150 people found themselves unable to squeeze into the venue.

Since then, he claims the tide of public opinion has been turning in favour of the stadium proposals - "that's certainly the case as far as representations to me are concerned" - and he has accused opponents of hijacking the issue for political purposes.

Derek Martin stood against him as Conservative Party candidate in the local government elections in 1999.

It is a claim which Mr Martin hotly rejects: "The only person who's making this a political issue is David Maitland," he said. "I wouldn't stand for Aberdeen City Council now - not because I'm frightened of Mr Maitland but because I wouldn't want to be associated with them.

"We formed this group in June, when there was no community council in Kingswells, to give a voice to the ordinary man in the street," he added.

"People in the town are talking about little else and none of them are in favour of the stadium. The telephone here has been red hot - and not just with Kingswells residents."

Cults, Bieldside and Milltimber Community Council has also lodged its objections to the proposals.

Spokesman Pat Hamilton said: "Many of the Cults, Bieldside and Milltimber residents are extremely worried about the traffic implications. There is real risk of major rat-running streams involving fans from the South working their way through our patch to get to the stadium. There will be accidents." By MORAG LINDSAY: 27 November 2001 http://www.thisisnorthscotland.co.uk/

F WHY DONS WOULD BE DOING YOU A FAVOUR WE can only hope peace finally breaks out tonight between Aberdeen FC and the Kingswells residents opposed to the building of a new stadium in their vicinity.

As I stated before, the Dons would be doing them a favour by building state of the art sporting facilities alongside the main 30,000 seater development. I can't understand the objections, given that the majority of those moaning live a considerable distance from the proposed development ... and they would get the whole thing for FREE.

I was interested to hear one of the Kingswells group urge the Dons to build it at Cove or Portlethen instead. It's all right for them but not all right for you, is that it? And would that mean the Kingswells folk agreeing to take the incinerator they plan to build at Cove instead?

If the Kingswells group manage to block the building of the development they will be robbing the whole of the North-east, not just Aberdeen, not just Dons fans. The building of the stadium would create many jobs and have a positive knock on effect for all the small businesses in Kingswells.

Once built, many more permanent posts would be created. There would also be something in place that could be used by Kingswells residents of all ages, particularly teenagers. What is there for kids to do out there in the evenings at the moment?

The proposed development isn't suddenly going to make Kingswells a horrible place. It will actually enhance the area, put it on the map, make the name Kingswells as well known as Pittodrie became in the previous 100 years.

The old stadium served its local community well... you can be sure the owners of places like the Pittodrie Bar and golf clubs at the Links would be as happy as some of those folk at Kingswells to see the Dons stay where they are. But their loss will be someone else's gain and the people at Kingswells have been handed the first chance to take advantage of that. Please don't look the gift horse in the mouth.

JOKE of the week was a national newspaper's attempt to compare Hicham Zerouali's handball to Maradona's "Hand of God."

Have you ever seen such a pathetic effort at trying to take the shine off yet another good win for Aberdeen?

It's clear the Dons doing well again gets up south-western noses.

Ebbe Skovdahl's men are far from world beaters yet but the recent home run is a big stride in the right direction. 15 November 2001 Comments from PandJ http://www.thisisnorthscotland.co.uk/

No Second Meeting For Kingswells: Aberdeen Football Club has declined a new invitation to attend a public meeting in Kingswells to address concerns from local people regarding the Club's proposed stadium development.

Newhills Councillor David Maitland today invited AFC representatives to a second public meeting in Kingswells Community Centre after people were turned away from an over-capacity meeting on Thursday evening.

Speaking today, Councillor Maitland said: "Despite repeated appeals from myself that last night's meeting was for local people, a large number of people from outside the Kingswells area attended along with opposition politicians. This resulted in a shortage of space at the meeting venue and local people being turned away.

"An invitation from myself to AFC to attend a second meeting to afford all local residents the opportunity to discuss the proposed stadium development has been declined. However, I understand that the Club is holding a public meeting in Inverurie Town Hall at 7.30pm on Tuesday evening as part of a series of road shows and that Kingswells' residents who were turned away from the meeting on Thursday night will be welcome to attend that meeting.

"There will also be further opportunities for local people to comment on this matter as the statutory planning and public consultation process develops." (Aberdeen City Council, Posted 16.11.2001)

DONS OFFER ALTERNATIVE VENUE FOR KINGSWELLS RESIDENTS: Aberdeen Football Club has urged Kingswells residents who missed last night's public meeting in the village to attend Tuesday's Roadshow at Inverurie Town Hall.

Residents looking at the proposed plans

Dons Chief Executive Keith Wyness commented. "When we learned that demand for last night's meeting was likely to be exceeded by supply, we offered to move to a larger venue. However, the organisers were of the opinion that it should be held locally and naturally, as it was their meeting, we complied with their wishes.
"Many of the questions raised were aimed directly at the Council and from AFC's point of view, I feel we did all we could to lay out the facts as to where we are right now with both the bid for Euro 2008 and the planning application.

With further roadshows planned for next week, I do not see any benefit of having a further meeting in Kingswells until we have received feedback on both the Transport and Environmental impact studies. Once we have that, as I stated last night, we will be more than happy to meet again." AFC (Posted 16.11.2001)


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MORE OLD NEWS

Park and Ride Figures Soar: 3.12.2001

Bad Timing For Stadium Proposal, Inquiry Told: 29.11.2001

Centre Hope For Tennis Hopefuls: 29.11.2001

Kingswells Residents protested peacefully 28.11.2001

Inquiry Into Kingswells Sports Scheme To Get Underway: 24.11.2001

Kingswells Protest Wins Support Of Westhill: 23.11.2001

Happy doggie walkers 1.9.2001

Kingswells residents cry foul at stadium meeting

Councillors claim park-and-ride will fail: 16.8.2001

Protesters bid to KO super stadium 15.8.2001

Park-and-Ride: 10.8.2001

Keeping the community informed: 6.8.2001

Kingswells its preferred option:3.8.2001

Countdown to beat gridlock as £7.3m plan nears start:24.7.2001

Public Inquiry To Be Held Into Plans For £12 Million Sports And Leisure Centre: 23.7.2001

Kingswells move bad for Dons, says planner: 24.7.2001

Executive calls public inquiry over leisure project. 16.7.2001


 

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