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Kingswells Old News

Updated: 22 Aug 2002

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DONS WELCOME COUNCIL'S GREEN LIGHT FOR STADIUM PLAN: Aberdeen Football Club today (Wednesday 21st August) welcomed the decision by the City Council to back its planning application for world class sport and leisure facilities at Bellfield as part of a successful Scottish-Irish bid for Euro 2008. The Council will now refer the planning application, that includes a new stadium for the Dons, to the Scottish Executive for final approval. The Council, as the local planning authority, will indicate to the Executive that it supports the application.

AFC chief executive, Keith Wyness said the decision marked a historic moment not only for the club but for the North-east as a whole.

He said: "The club is of course delighted at today's decision by the Council to endorse our significant plans for the Bellfield site. We are bitterly disappointed that the application has been tainted by recent internal political problems, but are happy that the council was able to put that aside today and focus on the relevant issues. We have invested huge amounts of time and effort in developing this proposal as a club and with our partners. We have listened to the debate that has surrounded this planning application and we believe that measures are in place to address all the major concerns that have emerged over the past year. I am very pleased that the Council has decided to back this bid and that it will now progress to the Scottish Executive, hopefully for final approval."

Mr Wyness said the proposed development also had wider social and economic benefits for Aberdeen and the North-east.

"The Bellfield development is not only central to the Scotland-Ireland bid to host Euro 2008 but would also have long-term economic benefits for the city and region. The quality and scope of the facilities would mean that other major sporting events could be hosted in Aberdeen with obvious financial spin-offs for the local economy. The communities of both Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire will also have access to world-class sport and leisure facilities as a result of the development," he said.

"The council has clearly carefully weighed all the relevant factors before reaching its historic decision today which indicates not only a willingness to back our development plans but also throws added weight behind the nation's bid to host Euro 2008. This is another major step towards the club, city and Scotland as a whole achieving its aspirations." (Posted 21.8.2002)

KINGSWELLS STADIUM BID 'MUST GO TO EXECUTIVE': Campaigners opposed to Aberdeen FC's Kingswells stadium plans yesterday urged the Scottish Executive to call in the application immediately following allegations against a former Labour councillor.

Kingswells Infrastructure First Group (KIFG) also called on Aberdeen City Council to make public details of the investigation into the complaint about David Maitland.

The Press and Journal revealed Mr Maitland was suspended by his party amid claims that he tried to persuade opposition colleagues on the planning committee to vote in favour of the club's stadium proposals.

A council spokesman said last night that an internal probe was expected to be completed today, and legal director Crawford Langley will present his findings to the full council meeting on Wednesday.

He said the council vote on the application will go ahead as planned.

KIFG chairman Derek Martin said: "The whole thing is tainted. We believe the Scottish Executive should call in the application immediately and instruct Aberdeen City Council to have nothing further to do with it.

"However, we do not expect for one minute that any of this will make the slightest difference. (The council) has ignored public opinion and very good planning arguments because it suits them to do so.

"Come hell or high water, these plans are going to be approved. We are asking, why?"

Following the departure of Mr Maitland, Labour is facing a crucial by-election in what is a marginal seat.

A defeat would result in a shift in the balance of power within the council, which is currently split at 21-21, although Lord Provost Margaret Smith is allowed a second, casting vote in the event of a tie.

Meanwhile, KIFG has also claimed there was a breach of legal procedure during the council's planning committee meeting at which the application was considered.

Convener Brian Rutherford was asked by councillors Jack Dempsey and David Clyne if the stadium aspect of the Dons' application could be considered separately.

Mr Martin said Mr Rutherford ruled that the committee would have to consider the application as a whole, without consulting legal officers.

KIFG claims to have uncovered case law which proves that the decision was legally wrong, and therefore a breach of procedure.

Mr Martin said: "Our planning agent has researched the matter and has found case law which establishes that the planning committee misdirected itself in law."

The council spokesman dismissed the claims, insisting that Mr Rutherford had followed correct procedure.

He said: "The planning committee had to determine the application before them, which was not just for a stadium, but for a centre of excellence and other additional facilities.

"If any member believed that the plans constituted over-development, then they could have voted against the application."

By DAVID MCKAY 19 August 2002 http//:www.thisisnorthscotland.co.u

COUNCILLOR SUSPENDED OVER CLAIMS OF OFFERING DEAL FOR DONS' STADIUM VOTES: An ABERDEEN city councillor has been suspended by his party amid allegations that he attempted to persuade opposition colleagues to vote in favour of Aberdeen FC's Kingswells stadium application.

But Labour's David Maitland last night claimed he had already resigned from the council because of "ongoing abuse" his family has received over his support for the stadium plans.

As a result, the council is split 21-21 and Labour faces a crucial by-election in a highly-marginal seat.

The Labour Party last night insisted that Mr Maitland quit after being told his position was "untenable" as a result of the allegations.

City council officials last night confirmed that an investigation had been carried out into the matter.

However, it concluded that no planning committee members had been "swayed" in their views on the Kingswells application over Mr Maitland's alleged actions.

Mr Maitland is understood to have been caught on tape offering an opposition councillor a deal on votes for Aberdeen FC's recent planning application at Kingswells.

It is understood that another fellow councillor Liberal Democrat Matthew Duncan approached the city council legal chiefs with the tape and an investigation was carried out.

The Labour Party carried out its own investigation into the matter, as a result of which Mr Maitland was "encouraged" to resign his seat at a meeting with group leader Len Ironside earlier this week.

Mr Ironside said yesterday: "I am very saddened and disappointed by the actions of David Maitland that led to his resignation.

"In the middle of this week it was brought to my attention that former councillor Maitland had been accused of behaviour totally unbefitting an elected representative in that he appeared to offer another councillor a deal on votes for planning applications.

"This kind of behaviour is totally unacceptable in the Labour Party, indeed as it would be in any political party.

"It was made clear to former councillor Maitland that his position was untenable and he was encouraged to resign."

However, when contacted at his Kingswells home last night, Mr Maitland claimed to be wholly unaware of the allegations and said he had not received any notification from the Labour Party that he had been suspended.

He said: "I am going to look into that very seriously.

"I had hoped to put all of this nonsense behind me. The fact of the matter is that my family have been under a tremendous strain, and the situation has become untenable.

"The vicious, sordid and serious nature of some of the material that was being sent to us in various forms left me, as a responsible parent, with no alternative."

Councillor Duncan admitted he was aware of the allegations, but was reluctant to elaborate on his involvement.

However, he said: "We will be making a statement as soon as we are sure it will not prejudice any council investigation and will make available any evidence at that time."

A city council spokesman said the matter had been investigated and that this Wednesday's full council vote on Aberdeen FC's Kingswells stadium application will go ahead as planned.

He said: "A complaint was received alleging that Councillor Maitland had attempted to influence certain other members of the planning committee.

"This has been investigated and it appears that he was over-enthusiastic rather than any other intent.

"There is at present no evidence that the views of any member had been swayed by any conversation.

"The matter regarding the football club's stadium application will on Wednesday be decided by the entire council."

SNP group leader Kevin Stewart said he hoped the allegations would not smear the reputation of all councillors.

He said: "He has made an extremely silly mistake. The public may well be of a mind to tar everyone with the same brush, but that would be unfair."

Liberal Democrat group leader Kate Dean was also reluctant to comment.

She said: "I am aware of an alleged breach of the code of conduct of the city council."

Tory group leader John Porter said the timing was "horrendous" for Labour as it means they must now hold a by-election - in a seat with a majority of just 28.

He said: "It's a bombshell for Labour."

A spokeswoman for Aberdeen FC said: "The club don't want to make any comment on the politics of local government."

A Labour Party spokeswoman said the party's swift action showed they were keen to clamp down on any allegations of sleaze.

She added: "Allegations of this kind are treated extremely seriously by the Labour Party. Mr Maitland has been suspended, with immediate effect, from holding office in the party pending an inquiry."

The development means that Labour now have to rely on the casting vote of Lord Provost Margaret Smith in the event of any legislation that unites the opposition.

The current Labour administration have 21 seats, with the opposition also having 21 seats. In the event of a tied vote, Lord Provost Margaret Smith would then get a second "casting" vote to determine an outcome.

However, if Labour lose the forthcoming by-ele ction in Newhills, they lose the majority and overall power in the council.

By SCOTT MACNAB AND DAVE MCKAY http://www.thisisnorthscotland.co.uk/ (Posted 17 August 2002 )

VOTE BRINGS NEW DONS STADIUM A STEP CLOSER: Aberdeen FC's controversial proposals for a £30million stadium and sports development at Kingswells overcame a major hurdle on Thursday 8th August when the city council's planning committee backed the scheme by 10 votes to four.

The application will now come before the full council on August 21 - but it is expected the ambitious development will be overwhelmingly voted through and then referred to Scottish ministers.

Planning committee convener Brian Rutherford said the proposal presented too good an opportunity to be missed and urged his colleagues to "seize the day" to make a historic decision for sport in the North-east.

The new stadium could play a key part in Scotland and Ireland's joint bid to host the prestigious Euro 2008 football championships.

Mr Rutherford told the planning committee: "The positives outweighed the negatives. This application would move sport in the North-east forward in a decided and historic way.

"It would not only benefit Aberdeen, but also Scotland. I urge you to seize the day."

Councillors spent 90 minutes discussing the application before voting in front of a busy Town and County Hall.

The venue was switched to a larger room to accommodate the large public contingent, including objectors from Kingswells and Cults.

More than 4,000 objections have been received by the city council. The objections centre on problems with the transport infrastructure and the potential traffic impact.

There are also concerns about the proximity to a cemetery, potential noise and impact on landscape.

Objectors said last night they were disappointed but still remained hopeful the application would be thrown out at the full council meeting.

Vice-chairman of Kingswells Community Council Alan Stott said: "We were not surprised, but we are glad it has been referred to the full council. That is what we wanted."

Chairman of Kingswells Infrastructure First Group Derek Martin said: "The decision was exactly as we expected and we expect the same decision to be taken at the full council meeting.

"We will just have to see what happens when the Scottish ministers get it."

Pat Hamilton, chairman of Cults Community Council, criticised the "wave of euphoria" that accompanied the decision.

He said: "They talked about the prestige and the wonderful facilities it would offer the community's youngsters. We are not opposed to that - just the location.

"They are only thinking about 2008 and not the rest of the stadium's life. If it was not for 2008, I don't believe they would grant planning permission."

After the meeting, Dons chairman Stewart Milne said the club had overcome a major hurdle.

"You were never going to have a perfect scenario. The concerns were expressed very clearly and the potential ups and downs were taken into account.

"But we have taken an important step in the right direction today."

Dons chief executive Keith Wyness said: "We are pleased that the council's planning officials have judged the application on its merits after lengthy and thorough scrutiny and look forward to the deliberations of all Aberdeen councillors later this month."

A spokesman for the Euro 2008 bid said: "It is very good news for the bid. We are very pleased. Hopefully, the full council will endorse the plan when it next meets."

Planning officials had backed the plans in a 40,000-word document by head of physical development Bob Reid.

This recommended councillors show a willingness to approve the development - but only if Scotland and Ireland's joint bid to host the Euro 2008 championship is successful and the Dons chip in for the city bypass.

Questions were asked about how much the club would put towards the Western Peripheral Route, but Mr Reid said that would be negotiated in the future and it was inappropriate to discuss it at the outline planning stage.

The report also stated that consultants estimated that the tournament could generate £19million for the local economy.

As well as a 30,000-seater stadium, the proposed development at Bellfield Farm includes a football academy, a hotel and restaurant, hockey pitches, go-karting and a host of other leisure facilities.

Newhills councillor David Maitland told the committee the development would leave a lasting legacy for generations.

Councillor Jack Dempsey said extra leisure facilities were badly needed in the city.

However, some members remained against the development, saying it was contrary to the council's greenbelt policy and that traffic concerns had not been resolved in the report.

Murtle councillor Matthew Duncan said that to sacrifice the greenbelt land for 2008 was simply too high a price to pay.

By LEAH WILLIAMSON http://www.thisisnorthscotland.co.uk/

REDS GO GREEN! AFC To Adopt Green Travel Measures if Bellfield Goes Ahead. The development of AFC's proposed stadium and sports complex at Bellfield could revolutionise how fans travel to home games, reduce traffic and help the environment.

A green approach to transport and traffic management issues is central to AFC's plans to establish a world-class sports and leisure facility at Bellfield.

In a report unveiled by city planners last week, which recommended planning approval for Bellfield, the issues of traffic and transport were again reiterated. However, the club remains adamant that there are real solutions.

AFC Chief Executive Keith Wyness today emphasised the club's commitment to adopting a green transport strategy to revolutionise how fans would access the proposed new stadium and to control parking in the local area on match days.

A recent survey of the club's fans revealed that there was a great willingness amongst them to change their travel habits. More than 60% were prepared to share cars; 22% of car users would use park and ride, 43% of fans would use shuttle buses, 11% would use private coaches, and 6% would take taxis. Past surveys showed that more than 72% of fans currently drive to Pittodrie where parking and access are difficult. At present only 14% of fans are travelling by bus while little more than 9% walk to home matches.

AFC is confident that a range of environmentally-friendly transport measures, including shuttle buses, park and ride, and car share schemes, will ensure that the Bellfield site is easily accessible to fans should the development go ahead and would also help the city meet government targets for use of public transport.

The willingness on the part of fans to move away from car use also represents a radical shift in thinking and could potentially see thousands of cars taken out of the city's traffic flow on match days.

The Club would also work in partnership with the City Council and Grampian Police to introduce a Traffic Regulation Order to ensure parking in the vicinity of the new stadium and sports and leisure complex was strictly controlled and residents' parking protected. This would include no parking schemes on match days in the neighbouring community of Kingswells.

AFC would also introduce a Residents Parking Hotline, one of the first of its kind in Scotland, which would allow local people to call in with any problems relating to the new stadium. This would allow the club, the local authority and the police to take appropriate action quickly. The hotline would be supported by a co-ordinator for AFC who would meet regularly with residents to address any ongoing situations.

A similar approach adopted following the construction of a new football stadium in Southampton is proving highly successful and AFC believes the same facilities can ensure smooth operations at the proposed Bellfield development.

AFC Chief Executive Keith Wyness believes concerns raised over traffic and parking issues at Bellfield can be successfully addressed.

"AFC is keen to see a shift from the traditional means that fans have used to travel to home games in Aberdeen to a greener approach to travel," he said.

"Aberdeen City Council is encouraging businesses across the city to introduce green transport plans and this is a key commitment in our development plans for Bellfield. AFC appointed the UK's leading environmental and planning consultants to undertake the research into the traffic and environmental impact studies for the proposed development at Bellfield and we are more than satisfied that the information provided to the City Council is robust and examines all the issues of concern in a thorough and responsible manner, particularly with regard to the environmental issues. In addition, our transportation plans were put together with the full co-operation of First Aberdeen.

"A comprehensive range of transport initiatives, including car share schemes, shuttle buses and park and ride would revolutionise how fans travel to home matches and would help to reduce traffic on match days. Parking is also obviously an issue of concern for local residents and has been thoroughly examined with some innovative methods of controlling illegal parking put forward."

Southampton Football Club encountered and overcame similar concerns when they developed a new stadium. Councillor Stephen Barnes-Andrews of Southampton City Council backs up Mr Wyness' claims based on the local authority's experience of a new stadium development.

He says: "We went through a very similar process in Southampton when Southampton Football Club wanted to build a new stadium inside the city.

"Initially there were thousands of objections and many of the concerns expressed by members of the public and in the media were for traffic and parking. We set up a variety of schemes, including park and ride and parking and ticket options for shuttle buses, and they all proved highly effective in traffic management terms.

"A stadium monitoring group was also established during the construction phase. This body included representatives from the football club, the council and local residents. It initially met four times a year and allowed any problems that arose to be dealt with quickly and effectively. The group helped to build relationships and involved all interested parties in the development. Both in the construction stage and once the stadium became operational this approach spread a sense of ownership to the wider community and meant that problems were solved on a partnership basis rather than through confrontation.

"Despite the initial misgivings of some local residents and objectors, very few problems were encountered and within 12 months, the residents parking meetings were deemed unnecessary and disbanded. The monitoring group itself is set to continue for a period of five years as originally agreed when the stadium development went ahead." (Posted 7.8.2002)

Dons Welcome Planning Report Recommendation for Bellfield: AFC today welcomed a report from City Council planners recommending the approval of the club's application for outline planning consent to develop a world-class sports and leisure centre at Bellfield.

The report by the Council's Head of Physical Development, Bob Reid will be considered by the City's Planning Committee on 8th August.

The 40,000-word document stresses the central role the Bellfield development plays in Scotland and Ireland's Euro 2008 bid, the huge, long-term economic benefits it could have for the North-east economy and the fact that Bellfield is the best site for the sports and leisure centre and is deliverable in the timescale set for Euro 2008.

AFC Chief Executive Keith Wyness welcomed the news and said he looked forward to Councillors having the opportunity to debate the club's exciting proposals next week.

"AFC is delighted that the Council's planning officials have endorsed our proposals for Bellfield which not only play a pivotal role in Scotland and Ireland's Euro 2008 bid but also promise wide-ranging social and economic benefits for Aberdeen as a whole for decades to come.

"There can be no doubt that these plans have been subject to long and hard scrutiny by planning officials, members of the public and the media, and the club has supplied all additional information requested by the planning officers during this process.

"All the issues surrounding the proposed development are dealt with in great detail in the report and AFC is confident that the right measures are in place to deal with these both effectively and sympathetically. With any proposed development of this significance there is always an amount of fine tuning that has to be carried out and, subject to planning approval; AFC would work closely with the City Council to achieve the best possible outcome.

"Transport and infrastructure have been high on the agenda since these plans were unveiled and the club's commitment to ensure the right measures are in place &endash; not only for this development but also as part of Aberdeen and the North-east's modern transport strategy - is evidenced by the willingness to contribute a significant financial package towards upgrading roads and traffic management facilities around the Bellfield site and tying these in with the Western Peripheral Route when it is progressed.

"Councillors on the planning committee will now have the opportunity to consider and debate this very comprehensive and detailed report at their meeting next week. The club, our fans and, I am sure, the wider community in Aberdeen will look forward to their deliberations with a great deal of interest." (Posted 2.8.2002)

CREATION OF REGIONAL CENTRE FOR SPORTING AND LEISURE EXCELLENCE INCLUDING 30,000 SEAT FOOTBALL STADIUM

RECOMMENDATION TO INDICATE 'WILLINGNESS TO APPROVE' AND REFER TO SCOTTISH MINISTERS

Aberdeen City Council planners have recommended that Scottish Ministers be asked to approve Aberdeen Football Club's outline planning application for a Regional Centre for Sporting and Leisure Excellence, including a 30,000 seat football stadium at Bellfield Farm, Kingswells.

The 40,000 word report, which is published this afternoon, will be presented for consideration to the City Council Planning Committee, which meets on Thursday, August 8.

Bob Reid, the Council's Head of Physical Development, says that balancing all the many factors which have to be taken into consideration he believes the proposal is acceptable because:

* There are far wider benefits to Aberdeen and not just the benefits of the football stadium being involved in such a major event as Euro 2008.

* The traffic can be managed satisfactorily and a legal commitment from the football club to help fund the Western Peripheral Route would ensure that further improvements will occur.

* There would be objections wherever a stadium had to go.

* The site is as good as any and clearly better than those to the south of the city, or any constrained brownfield site.

* The Scottish Executive approved Development Plan has set up "special circumstances" which enables this to take place.

And Mr Reid says that if planning permission was refused it could weaken the Scottish/Irish bid to host the Euro 2008 Championships.

He says: "Participation in Euro 2008 presents too good an opportunity to be missed. There are potentially very significant long-term benefits to the economy of Aberdeen which would be beneficial to the well-being of the city and its residents.

"It would provide a conduit for Aberdeen to enhance its reputation as a thriving and dynamic city capable of hosting major sporting events. There would be a long-term legacy for all citizens in terms of access to first-class new modern sport and leisure facilities.

"The potential benefits for the economy of the city and the long-term legacy for all citizens in terms of new modern sports and leisure facilities are a relevant material consideration and insofar as making a decision on this application are of sufficient importance to warrant a departure from the Development Plan and therefore recommend that planning permission is granted,"

He adds: "However, this departure can be justified only if the Scotland/Ireland bid to host the Euro 2008 Championships is successful and Aberdeen is selected as one of the host cities for the group stages of the tournament.

"Accordingly, the granting of planning permission should be considered on Aberdeen's participation in Euro 2008. In additional a Legal Agreement should be entered into with the applicant.

"To refuse planning permission would jeopardise and possibly rule out Aberdeen's involvement in the tournament and could harm the Scotland/Ireland bid. It would be impossible to meet the Scottish Football Association and UEFA timescales for delivering an identified site for a stadium. The availability and feasibility of any other alternative sites is questionable and it would not be possible to secure such a site and progress the necessary planning application and environmental and transport assessments in sufficient time to maintain inclusion in the Euro 2008 bid.

"At the hearing it was suggested by an objector that the application should not be considered in advance of the decision by UEFA on Euro 2008. Deferring a decision would compromise one of the principle criteria of the SFA for Euro 2008 to ensure a designated site for a stadium.

"Failure to deliver a designated site would not only considerably lesson and possibly eliminate Aberdeen's chances of being part of the bid and could weaken the Scottish/Irish bid."

THE APPLICATION

Aberdeen Football Club's application is to develop a 118.9 acre site at Bellfield Farm, Kingswells.

Outline planning permission is being sought for the creation of a 'Regional Centre for Sporting and Leisure Excellence" which incorporates a football stadium and a soccer academy and sites for a competition swimming pool (with diving and training pool), a sports hall, and outdoor hockey pitch and ancillary community and commercial developments, which include a golf academy and driving range, an ice rink/curling facility, an indoor bowling hall, 10 pin bowling, go-karting arena, ten 5-a-side football pitches, sports science facility with fitness centre and sports injury clinic, a hotel and two catering/dining establishments.

LEGAL AGREEMENTS

The Football Club would be required to sign a legal Agreement covering matters relating to the execution of road improvements; the costs, implement/monitoring of the Green Transport Plan; the provision of peripheral park and ride and shuttle parking sites; financial contribution towards road safety measures on the adjacent roads; parking controls at the crematorium; the reduction of the capacity of the stadium post Euro 2008 to a maximum 24,000 to 25,000; the provision and maintenance of landscaping; the phasing of the development; the monitoring regime for the Queen's Road/Anderson Drive junction and a financial contribution towards the Western Peripheral Route and any linkage to the development, when this goes ahead.

In order to facilitate the provision of community facilities Aberdeen FC has offered to make available that part of the site to the City Council.

ALTERNATIVE SITES

The Football Club carried out an assessment of alternative sites including the redevelopment of Pittodrie and new developments on sites at Balgownie, Moss Side, Murcar, Sheddockley, Chapelbrae, Calder Park and Kingswells.

Mr Reid says that the Football Club assessed these sites against criteria relating to landscape, transportation, planning considerations, ecology, nature conservation and deliverability.

"Many of the objectors to the development have argued that deliverability is not a planning matter (the term 'deliverability' could quite easily be substituted for 'availability' which in the context of assessment would have a similar meaning).

"It is the case that deliverability is not in the strictest sense a planning consideration. However, it cannot be dismissed as irrelevant, otherwise the planning system becomes a theoretical desktop exercise. It would make a nonsense of the planning system if decisions were made only on this basis without taking account the realities of whether of whether or not developments can actually be delivered.

"In this specific one, in relation to the Euro 2008 bid, one of the key requirements of the SFA is deliverability.

"The Environmental Statement suggests a ranking of the alternative sites: first is Calder Park, followed by Kingswells and then Sheddockley, Moss Side, Pittodrie, Murcar, Balgownie and Chaplebrae. However, the assessment concludes that whilst Calder Park performs best, Kingswells has a crucial advantage in respect of its deliverability and ability to accommodate the integrated development."

Mr Reid says that while it would be "inappropriate" to discuss in detail the relative merits of each site, as this application must be determined on the merits of the proposal and not on the potential alternative sites, he makes some general comments.

He says that evidence provided shows that 80 per cent of the home supporters attending Pittodrie live north of the River Dee.

An analysis has recently been carried out on traffic at Bridge of Dee on the impact of traffic at Bridge of Dee of the impact of a development at Kingswells and for a site south of the River Dee. The result shows substantial congestion around all bridges of the River Dee if the site was to be in the south.

"The congestion problems caused by a stadium to the south of the city must raise doubts over the suitability of both Calder Park and Moss Side."

Moss Side is already the subject of a planning application for mostly business and industry uses. Calder Park has planning permission for a football stadium and community facilities for Cove Rangers - a relatively small scale development compared to the Kingswells plans.

Mr Reid says: "There are significant potential problems, which may through examination, rule these sites out of consideration, for example availability of the site, the loss of business/industrial land and the likely problems with congestion for any site south of the city.

"In conclusion that Environmental Statement does not demonstrate conclusively that there are significantly more appropriate sites."

The report goes on to say that the state of the existing stand at Pittodrie is declining year by year and within a few years is likely to require major work in order to allow it to be continued to be used. It is unlikely to be economical to refurbish the existing stand and therefore an entirely new structure would be required.

However, if the football club could acquire additional land at Pittodrie it would not be of sufficient size to accommodate a 'Regional Centre of Excellence'.

In conclusion Mr Reid says: "Each of the alternatives would be likely to encounter significant potential obstacles to develop, which may through a thorough examination rule them out of consideration, for example the availability of the site, the loss of business land and the likely problems with congestion crossing the River Dee for any site south of the City.

"There are undoubtedly major and probably insurmountable problems in redeveloping Pittodrie within the limits of the current site."

ECONOMIC BENEFITS

The report says that an important consideration of the acceptability, or otherwise, of the development is the economic and social benefits the scheme would have for Aberdeen.

"Should the joint Scotland/Ireland bid to host the Euro 2008 Championships be successful and Aberdeen was to host matches during the initial group stages the benefits to Aberdeen and the North-east should not be underestimated. There would be long-term gains from the promotion of Aberdeen worldwide during the event."

Consultants estimated that the economic benefits to the city hosting the Euro 2008 Championships would be between £5.8 million to £11.8 million. The total impact to the local economy could be in fact as high as £19 million.

"It is not easy to quantify the long term economic benefits that would accrue for Aberdeen as a result of the City being showcased and promoted on the world stage during Euro 2008, but these could be significant resulting from greater business opportunities and inward investment and increased tourism. It would also showcase Aberdeen as a city capable of hosting major sporting opportunities for it to stage future national or international events."

During construction it is estimated it could create 150 jobs and after completion 100 new full-time jobs and 120 part-time jobs.

IMPACT TO RESIDENTIAL AMENITY

Mr Reid says: "Given the distance between the development and Kingswells village, including most of the south part of the village, there would be no impact on residential amenity.

"There is no evidence to suggest that football supporters would enter the residential area. There are no facilities within Kingswells that would attract supporters either before or after the game. The fear of many of the objectors that Kingswells would suffer from vandalism and disturbance from large numbers of supporters is unfounded. Following matches the majority of supporters would be bussed away from the site or leave in their cars. Some may remain on the site for other facilities."

The report adds that there would be increased noise at certain times - mainly from traffic entering and leaving the stadium. "However, given the limited number of times and short duration of each occurrence, the disturbance would not be significant.

Adequate measures have been taken over the loud speaking equipment and lighting.

A barrier at least 3.5 metres high is also proposed with the boundary of the Garden of Remembrance.

TRANSPORT AND TRAFFIC

The Football Club have put forward a number of transport proposals. These include:

* A transport strategy encouraging access principally by public transport.

* A Green Travel Plan which promoted and encourages more sustainable transport.

* Maximum of 2000 parking spaces for the stadium with a membership car share club.

* Implementation of a Car Park Management Plan.

* Control of off-site parking on match days.

* Promotion of 'Home support coach clubs" and "travel time spreading".

* Provision of city-wide network of buses on match days.

* Additional pedestrian (including bridge across the A944) and cycle facilities.

* Provision of on-site bus interchange and coach parking.

* New roundabout junctions into the site and improvements to adjacent junctions.

Mr Reid says: "The importance of limiting travel by private car cannot be emphasised enough. The proposed transport solution has been designed to meet this objective. Whilst each element is individually important it is the complete package of measures which is necessary to make the development acceptable in transportation terms."

He adds: "Control of on-street parking on the surrounding roads would be crucial in limited car borne trips to the site. An extensive controlled parking zone for match/event days to restrict parking in local areas to residents' only would be essential.

'This would cover the residential area of Kingswells, surrounding roads to the Blacktop Road in the south and Westhill in the west, and Hazlehead and Sheddocksley in the east.

"A Traffic Regulation Order would be required. This would be subject to public consultation and therefore, in theory, cannot be guaranteed at this time. Should it fail the TA as presented would fail to deliver a sustainable transport solution and the development as proposed would not be acceptable and would require to be changed substantially. The implementation of the controlled parking zone is fundamental to the success of other sustainable transport measures".

The report says that the capacity of the football stadium should be reduced to approximately 24,000, with the exception of Euro 2008 and subsequent special events of a similar scale and standing. This capacity would be able to cope with Old Firm games.

Mr Reid adds: "The Western Peripheral Route has been raised as an issue. The transportation solution proposed by the applicant is based on the premise that the WPR is not required for the development to be acceptable.

"With the measures to regulate proposed to regulate traffic and the package of green transport measures, the development would work, in terms of transportation, without the WPR. Notwithstanding this is would be entirely wrong for proposed development by Aberdeen AFC to proceed and then not contribute to the future WPR. When the WPR goes ahead the accessibility of the site would undoubtedly improve."

REPRESENTATIONS

The total number of representations received was 4,401 of which 4,104 (approximately 93 per cent) are various standardised letters. However, this figure is somewhat meaningless and should be treated with caution as many people have submitted several letters, mostly as a consequence of three periods of consultation.

A better judge of the level of opposition to the proposal is the number of individuals who have objected, rather than the number of letters. This figure is approximately 2,700, of which 55 per cent have Kingswells addresses.

RECOMMENDATION:

The City Council Planning Committee, which meets on Thursday, August 8, is recommended to indicate a "willingness to approve" the application with 26 listed conditions, but to withhold issue of the Consent Document until such time as the applicant has entered into the legal agreement and to refer the application to Scottish Ministers for consideration.

OBJECTORS SET BATTLE LINES AS STADIUM APPLICATION GOES BEFORE PLANNING OFFICIALS: Objectors to plans for a multi-million-pound sports development in a suburb of Aberdeen are gearing up for the appearance of the plans before city planning officials.

Kingswells Community Council met last night for the final time before the application by Aberdeen Football Club for a 30,000-seat stadium at Bellfield Farm near the suburb goes before the city council's planning committee on August 8.

The council received 1,459 letters of objection to the proposals which include a sports centre of excellence, soccer academy and swimming pool.

Both the football club and objectors gave evidence at an earlier hearing. However, only the club will be allowed to appeal to the Scottish Executive if planning permission is refused.

Under planning law those fighting the application have to accept the final decision of councillors.

Alan Stott, chairman of the community council, said: "All we can do now is hope that common sense prevails. The build up to this has been slightly quieter than the furore before the public inquiry, but I am sure this is the tip of the iceberg.

"Our action group will be attending the planning meeting and are prepared to keep fighting whatever the decision."

Other objectors include Braeside and Mannofield Community Council, Bucksburn and Newhills Community Council, Aberdeen Civic Society, Friends of the Earth, the Protection of Rural Scotland and TRANSform Scotland.

Their list of objections centre on the problems with the transport infrastructure and the potential traffic impact. There are also concerns about the proximity to a cemetery, potential noise and impact on landscape.

The club says there would be a maximum of 2,000 parking spaces which it would control. It would have drop-off facilities for taxis, mini-buses and cars. There will also be pedestrian and cycle facilities. The committee meets at 2pm on August 8 in the Town House.

by LAURA GRANT , 30 July 2002 http://www.thisisnorthscotland.co.uk/

ANGER OVER TIMING OF STADIUM BRIEFING: Aberdeen councillors have been invited to attend a briefing on Scotland's Euro 2008 bid just days before a public hearing into the proposed £30million stadium in Kingswells starts.

The move was last night branded a blatant attempt to influence councillors to vote for the controversial stadium.

Letters inviting Aberdeen City councillors to a briefing session, requested by Aberdeen Football Club chairman Stewart Milne in the city's Town House, were dispatched yesterday.

The meeting is scheduled for June 19, just a week before the council holds a public hearing into the Dons' planning application for the 30,000-seater stadium.

But a spokesman for Mr Milne said he was not even aware of the Town House briefing.

The plans to build a stadium and sports village on a greenfield site, at Bellfield Farm, in Kingswells, sparked outrage among residents when they were announced last year.

The council received 1,459 letters of objection, with the main focus of objections based on problems with the transport infrastructure and the potential traffic impact.

Planning director Peter Cockhead recommended that a special hearing should be held because the application was so controversial.

This is scheduled to take place on June 27 and the council will make a recommendation six weeks later.

Yesterday a council spokesman confirmed that the meeting would take place in the Town Hall but stressed that it was to discuss the Euro 2008 bid and not the Kingswells application - which is a feature of the joint bid by Scotland and Ireland to host the football championships.

He said: "A letter went out to all councillors today saying that Stewart Milne, chairman of Aberdeen Football Club, has asked to do a briefing session to councillors on June 19 at the Town House.

"The briefing session will be about updating members about the bid for 2008 and the letter points out that the meeting will not be in any way to do with the planning application for Kingswells.

Alan Stott, who heads up the sub division of Kingswells Community Council against the plans, said he found the news unbelievable.

He said: "How can he (Mr Milne) talk about the 2008 bid without it having anything to do with the planning application? That is absolute rubbish. It is a blatant attempt to influence the council. There is no doubt about it."

Mike Dunbar, spokesman for Kingswells Infrastructure First Group (KIFG), which is staunchly against the plans, also felt that the timing of the meeting was coincidental.

He said: "All that anyone can say is it is a mighty coincidence of timing but I would hope that good sense prevails among the councillors in that they resist any attempt to influence the planning process, particularly those on the planning committee who will be asked to make the decision later.

"I think that everybody would be disappointed but not necessarily surprised if attempts were made to influence decisions outwith the planning process.

"The question in my mind is what is going to be said at this private meeting that cannot be said at the public hearing."

Last night, a spokeswoman for Mr Milne said that he had no knowledge of the briefing.

She said: "We are unaware of this particular meeting but it could be part of a series of meetings we have been holding over the last six months with groups of people who want to know more about what the plans are and what is involved."

These groups include representatives from Aberdeen City Council, Aberdeenshire Council, Scottish Enterprise Grampian and Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce.

by Caroline Page 14 June 2002 http://www.thisisnorthscotland.co.uk/

Pre-School/Primary provision in Kingswells
Draft consultation document - May 2002

Aberdeen City Council's Education Department is seeking views on a range of options - nine in total - for how pre-school and primary education might be provided in Kingswells in the future.

You can take part in the consultation by reading the documents below and writing to the Director of Education with your comments by July 1 2002. The Director's contact details are in the section called 'Public Consultation'.

1.

Background information - accommodation, roll and legislative context (155Kb)

2.

Public Consultation (56Kb)

3.

Options (99Kb)

4.

Appendices

Appendix 1 (305Kb)

Appendix 2 (189Kb)

Appendix 3 (152Kb)

Appendix 4 (457Kb)

Appendix 5 & 6 (93Kb)

These documents are in PDF format and require Adobe Acrobat Reader for viewing. http://www.aberdeencity.gov.uk

KINGSWELLS PUPIL IN FINAL LAP OF JUBILEE FESTIVITIES: The final major Golden Jubilee celebration took place in Aberdeen last night when the city welcomed the arrival of the Commonwealth Baton.

The Granite City was selected as one of the stops in the jubilee baton relay which forms part of the preparations for the 17th Commonwealth Games to be held in Manchester this summer.

Runners will carry the baton, containing a message from the Queen, through 23 Commonwealth nations over four months, finishing at the games' opening ceremony on July 25.

The baton was carried by 14 runners from Cults through the city centre to the Castlegate, where it was officially received by Lord Provost Margaret Smith.

Escorted by a squad of motorcycle police officers, Chris Whitcombe started the Aberdeen leg of the relay in Cults just after 6pm.

The baton was carried along North Deeside Road to Great Western Road, Holburn Street, and on to Union Street.

The final stretch, from the Market Street junction to the Castlegate, was covered by 26-year-old Fiona Walker, who was cheered by a waiting crowd of about 150 at the Castlegate.

After handing the baton to the Provost, Ms Walker said she was exhausted, but had enjoyed the experience.

"I was very nervous, but it was fun," she said.

"I managed to run the whole way. It was quite good when I could hear them shouting my name - it's quite an honour."

Mother-and-daughter team Sonia and Amber McCarthy also took part in the relay.

Mrs McCarthy, 39, nominated her 12-year-old daughter and said the rest of her family nominated her so they would not be jealous if Amber was chosen.

"It was good, it was spectacular. I cried when I saw her (Amber) running with the baton, I was so proud of her," the communications lecturer said.

Amber, a pupil at Kingswells Primary School, said taking part had been "wicked".

"Everybody that passed us was excited and waving and saying good on you," Mrs McCarthy said. "It's all part of history and we are never going to able to do it again. It's been a great opportunity for us."

Local disc jockeys Andy James and Yvonne Silver compered the evening celebration of live music and comedy.

Following on from the relay, the Grampian Institute of Sport is to hold a fundraising dinner at the Beach Ballroom on Friday to generate income for the North-east and Scottish athletes attending the Commonwealth games in July and August.

For information or to book a ticket call Brian Woodcock at the arts and recreation department on 01224 522000 or e-mail Sports Council vice-chairman Dave McDonald at dave.mcdonald@btclick.com
Angela Taylor (Posted 11.6.2002)
http://www.thisinorthscotland.co.uk

GALA DAY FOR COMMUNITIES AS MINIBUS IS HANDED OVER: Community groups in Westhill and Kingswells took to the road in their new minibus at the weekend.

The two communities banded together to ensure they won the £25,000 LDV Convoy minibus, which the Press and Journal gave away as a prize in March.

Between them, the people of Westhill and Kingswells collected more than 65,000 tokens from the newspaper to secure victory.

In total, the P &J received 350,000 tokens from schools and community groups in the North-east.

The vehicle, which will be shared between the two communities, was officially unveiled at the Westhill Gala Day on Saturday.

David Ritchie, co-ordinator of the minibus bid on behalf of Westhill Residents Association, received the new vehicle from Lesley Davidson, marketing manager at RGIT Montrose, which helped run the competition.

Gala Princess Amy Manson cut a ribbon to mark the occasion.

Mr Ritchie, who was part of the team which collected tokens for the bus, said: "It was a great community effort in terms of the number of tokens we collected. Now we just need people to start using the bus."

He said the priority was to set up a management group to co-ordinate use of the minibus and to attract volunteer drivers.

A public meeting has been arranged in Westhill's Ashdale Hall, on June 25, at 7.30pm.

Westhill has not had a minibus for hire to community groups since the late 80s.

The minibus, which has been in use since May, has been used twice - to take Guides to Daviot for a competition day and to transport Air Cadets to Bennachie for their Duke of Edinburgh expeditions.

The Kingswells Breakfast and After School clubs plan to use it to take youngsters to and from school.

In the evenings, at weekends and during school holidays, it will be available to any of the 30 community groups in Westhill who helped to assemble the mountain of tokens. http://www.thisinorthscotland.co.uk

CONSULTATION ON KINGSWELLS SCHOOL: Aberdeen City Council is offering the public an opportunity to consult on the options for the provision of primary schooling for the children of Kingswells.

The period of consultation begins on Tuesday, June 4, and runs to Monday, July 1.

The results of the Public Consultation will be presented to the Council's Education and Leisure Committee at its meeting on September 3.

A copy of the consultation document, with details of the options, is available for public examination at: Kingswells School; Kingswells School annexe -

Fairley Road; Bankhead Academy; Kingswells Community Centre; the Central Library; Summerhill Education Centre; Town House, Broad Street; Public Information Office, Broad Street; and on Aberdeen City Council's website, at www.aberdeencity.gov.uk

Large print version of this document is available on request.

Any written observations should be sent to:

Mr John Stodter, Director of Education (Corporate Director Designate ~ Learning & Leisure)
(Public Consultation Response)
Aberdeen City Council
Stronsay Drive
Aberdeen (Posted 4.6.2002)

EXTRA TIME REQUIRED OVER £12m SPORTS CENTRE PLANS: The Scottish Executive has asked for more time to determine a planning application for a £12 million sports and leisure centre on the outskirts of Aberdeen.

Notification has been received that an extension of a month is required before coming to a conclusion on the proposal for the centre at East Middlefield.

The applicants Queens Road Development Company Limited want to erect a main building containing seven tennis courts, a swimming pool, fitness centre, seven squash courts and badminton courts, a cafe, restaurant and bar.

Outside would be another swimming pool, six tennis courts, basketball and volleyball courts, a trim trail and 300 car parking spaces.

The City Council had expressed a willingness to approve the application by 27 votes to 15 last year but it was "called in" by Scottish Ministers and a public inquiry was held.

The grounds for calling in the application was because of "possible implications" for the Aberdeen Green Belt and for policies contained in National Policy Guidelines dealing with 'sport, physical recreation and open space' plus 'transport and planning'.

DO YOU USE THE LOCAL WOODS? Do you care if the local woods disappear? If so, please show your support on the 15th June by visiting the Counteswells Woods. Claim the woods. Countesswells and Foggieton Woods are under threat from developments in the next 14 years. Walkers, dogs, jogger, horses, riders, cyclists if you share our concerns we invite you to join a mass demonstration of solidarrity to protest this at Countesswells Woods on Saturday June 15th from 10am. Contact Gill for details on 740454. (Posted 29.5.2002)

KINGSWELLS PUPILS TAKE TO THE STREETS: From today schools across Aberdeen will be taking part in Walk to School Week to encourage pupils and parents to take the healthy option when travelling to and from school.

Walk to School Week will be highlighted in a variety of ways in City schools throughout this week, from assemblies to pupil surveys and information leaflets for parents to class presentations.

Participating schools include Abbotswell Primary, Airyhall Primary, Charleston Primary, Cults Academy, Ferryhill Primary, Harlaw Academy, Kingswells Primary, Kittybrewster Primary, Marchburn Infant School, Middleton Park Primary, Newhills Primary, Portal Community Centre, Scotstown School, Torry Nursery and Victoria Road Primary.

The walking to school initiative will be incorporated in health promotions activities, art projects, environmental discussions, school newsletters, road safety discussions, cycling proficiency training and special assemblies. (Posted 20.5.2002)

MORE THAN 5,000 USE PARK AND RIDE: More than 5,000 passengers again used Aberdeen's park and ride services last week.

The number of cars using Bridge of Don was 2,482 and at Kingswells 912, making a total of 3,394 vehicles.

The number of passengers at Bridge of Don was 3,940 and at Kingswells 1,407, making a total of 5,347. Posted 21.5.2002)

KINGSWELLS SCHOOL TACKLE VANDALISM HEAD ON: Kingswells Primary School is suffering an unprecedented amount of vandalism. In the past 10 months, the school has had 37 windows smashed, the guttering has been pulled off , security lights have been smashed and much more besides. In fact over £3,300 of ratepayers' money has been spent unnecessarily repairing the damage done by a small group of disaffected, local youths.
However, Kingswells School together with their School Board are tackling this issue head on. This weekend they are launching an 'awareness raising' campaign at the MAY FAIR. The whole school are supporting this initiative and several groups of children have designed anti-vandalism posters for display at the May Fair.
Also, many of the local businesses are supporting this initiative by putting posters in their front window.
Andrea Wood, School Board Member, said 'The actions of a small, selfish minority are adversely affecting the environment of the whole school. Every Monday morning, the janitor is faced with clearing away piles of smashed alcohol bottles, litter, graffiti and disinfecting urine drenched doorways just to create a safe environment for the staff and pupils. This weekend we will be taking the first of a series of steps to raise awareness of this problem and eventually to find a solution. Our Community Police Officer, Ian Robison, has been most helpful and is looking into setting up a School Watch programme.
Our message to the people of Kingswells is - 'Feel free to use the school playground out of school hours for recreational activities and please keep an eye on our playground to make it a less appealing place for teenagers to congregate.
Our message to the perpertrators is 'Please stop these damaging and hurtful actions'. '

KINGSWELLS TO TAKE PART IN BROWN BIN PILOT SCHEME - TO BE LAUNCHED: Vegetable peelings, teabags and grass cuttings will be recycled and used to make compost as part of a pilot scheme which gets underway in Aberdeen next week.
Selected households in the Kincorth, Kingswells and lower Deeside areas will begin receiving brown wheeled bins on Monday, May 13, as part of the environmentally-friendly project.
Kincorth East Councillor George Urquhart will be among the first citizens to receive a bin.
More than 10,000 households were asked to take part in the brown bin pilot and start to segregate their green waste such as vegetable peelings and garden waste.
The waste collected will be shredded along with the green waste that Aberdeen City Council produces from its own operations in parks and gardens. The material will then be transferred to a waste treatment plant, where it will be turned into compost.
Almost 2,000 households have signed up to the scheme and Aberdeen City Council is hopeful more volunteers will jump on board once it is up and running.
Regular bin collections will stay the same for all volunteers with the brown bin being collected fortnightly.
The bins, which are similar in dimensions to the standard wheeled bins used for refuse collection, are to be delivered over the next two weeks.
Two types are being piloted - one fitted with ventilation slots and the other without.
The green waste collected will be composted and used as a soil improver or a buy back scheme, depending on the quality of the compost produced.
Councillor Urquhart, who is a member of Aberdeen City Council's Environment and Infrastructure Committee, said he was delighted to be participating.
"The aim of this pilot project is to divert waste from landfill and to treat it to provide compost, which can only be a good thing for the environment.
"My wife Alice and I are pleased to be among the first to receive one of these bins and I would urge as many citizens as possible to become involved in this important scheme."

Recommendations for Green Waste
Place materials into the bin either loosely or wrapped in paper, refrain from using plastic refuse sacks (all waste must be in the container and the lid has to be closed, DO NOT place any excess by the bin).

  • Do not pack material too tightly.
  • Clean any residue from inside the container if found necessary after collection.

Items suitable for composting

  • Teabags Vegetables Vegetable peel or skins Leaves
  • Grass cuttings Wood shavings and sawdust Small bush and plant prunings

Items NOT suitable for composting

  • Batteries Mixed refuse Metals Liquids or fluids
  • Plastics Meats, fats or bones Rubber Earth, stones or sods
  • Glass Dog waste Textiles Cat litter tray waste
  • Oversized items (e.g. Branches)


If you can provide assistance or information with any of the above please contact me at: info@kingswells.com A credit will be given to anyone submitting articles and photos used on web site. Claire Burt Web mistress

 
hat


Chat on the Bulletin Board

OLD NEWS

PARK AND RIDE FIGURES: Park and Ride figures for the period January 28th

UPDATE ON MAJOR PLANNING APPLICATIONS: Aberdeen City Council officials have given an update on progress dealing with two major planning applications.

Wendy Alexander To Visit Kingswells Park And Ride

Talks with NESTRANS over future transport plans

KINGSWELLS.COM SEEKS A SPONSORSHIP DEAL FOR IT'S FIRST BIRTHDAY - The community web site Kingswells.com will be one year-old in April and it is exploring the possibility of allowing a local business to sponsor the whole web-site.

ABERDEEN TO BID FOR FUNDING FOR WASTE AND RECYCLING: Aberdeen City Council is set to bid for more than £3.5 million from the Scottish Executive to implement its waste reduction and recycling strategy.

FOOTBALL CLUB MAKES FURTHER SUBMISSION FOR KINGSWELLS CENTRE OF SPORTING EXCELLENCE: Aberdeen City Council has today (8.4.2002) received further submissions from Aberdeen Football Club in support of their planning application for a centre for sporting excellence at Bellfield Farm, Kingswells.

KIFG MEANS BUSINES:Kingswells Infrastructure First Group has demonstrated the strength of its commitment to opposing the stadium proposal

NEW DONS STADIUM MAY LEAD TO PARKING CURBS: Parking restrictions might be introduced across much of the western fringes of Aberdeen if Dons bosses get the go-ahead for their proposed stadium at Kingswells.

KINGSWELLS FOLK RESTORE POND IN SPRING CLEAN Kingswells Community Council and the Aberdeen Countryside Project joined forces yesterday to organise a Kingswells clean-up.

STADIUM OPPONENTS LAUNCH LEGAL FUNDS DRIVE: The protest group campaigning against Aberdeen Football Clubs plans to build a new stadium in Kingswells last night launched an appeal for funds to take its battle through the courts if necessary.

CLUBS' UNITED EFFORT PAYS OFF TO WIN MINIBUS: Community groups in the North-east are jumping for joy after picking up the keys to their own £25,000 minibus.

DATE SET FOR ABERDEEN FOOTBALL CLUB PUBLIC HEARING: Aberdeen City Council today announced the date of the Development Plan departure hearing into the application by Aberdeen Football Club for outline planning approval for a regional centre for sporting and leisure excellence at Bellfield Farm, Kingswells.


Site Compiled by Claire Burt Email: info@kingswells.com or write to: Kingswells.com 21 Wellside Avenue, Kingswells, Aberdeen, AB15 8EF