Business leaders have backed Aberdeen FC’s vision for a new stadium as being crucial to the north-east’s economic recovery.

The Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce and the Scottish Council for Development and Industry have revealed their support for the club’s proposed switch from Pittodrie.

Their endorsement comes as councillors carried out a site inspection of the plot today at Kingsford, where the Dons are planning to build the £50million venue.

The business bodies have argued the development is vital to the future of the north-east’s economy.

Russell Borthwick, chief executive of Aberdeen and Grampian’s Chamber of Commerce, said: “We believe Aberdeen FC’s community, training and stadium plan is one of the major infrastructure projects that is key to the future of our economy.

“The scheme is privately funded, economically viable and can help support the delivery of the economic renaissance in the north-east.

“Not proceeding with this high-profile project will create confusion and reduced confidence among residents and the investor community, sending out the message once again that our region is not progressive or open for business.”

Ian Armstrong, regional director for the Scottish Council for Development and Industry, added: “The nature and longevity of the current downturn in the oil and gas sector must focus the minds of city planners and politicians.

“It is essential that we crack on and speed up the economic diversification of the area.”

The business membership organisations together represent more than 1,600 people.

Aberdeen FC has maintained the relocation to a new 20,000 seat ground between Westhill and Kingswells is critical to the club’s chances of future success.

However, the No To Kingsford protest group has vowed to make its presence felt during today’s site inspection, by attending to voice their objections to the plans.

Campaigners last night highlighted the potential for the new ground to adversely impact the region’s economy, and expressed disappointment that Mr Borthwick and Mr Armstrong had spoken in its favour.

The group said: “The stadium proposals will provide only 20 jobs for the north-east as stated in the club’s own economic impact document.

“Aberdeen City Council’s economic development department has stated that the location of a stadium, seven miles from the city centre, will potentially see a decline of £1.78 million in spending in the city.”

Originally published and copyright Press and Journal – 11 September 2017