A raft of hotels and bars in Aberdeen have spoken up in favour of the proposed £50million Dons stadium at Kingsford, saying the city “can’t afford” to turn it down.

The plans have been backed by Aberdeen City and Shire Hotels Association, which represents corporate and independent hotels providing more than 4,000 rooms.

The support comes despite concern that the city centre economy could suffer, with thousands of football supporters heading for the stadium between Westhills and Kingswells instead of remaining in the heart of Aberdeen on matchdays.

Gary Atkinson, chairman of Aberdeen City and Shire Hotels Association, said: “Aberdeen Football Club plays a significant role in raising the profile of the region and contributes in no small measure to our economy.

“The club has been seeking a new home for far too long and it is quite apparent that the club and the region cannot wait any longer for these new facilities to be delivered.

“The proposed training, community and stadium facilities at Kingsford represent a £50million private sector investment in the region at a time when we urgently need investment and economic stimulus.

“The plans at Kingsford would send out a strong signal that our region is open for business and confident in our future.

“This much-needed confidence will spill over into other sectors, including hospitality and tourism – both of which are vital to the future sustainability of this area and our ability to attract incomers.”

Kieren Joseph, assistant manager of The Foundry bar, added: “There’s no way we as a club and a city can afford to turn this down.

“As a manager of a local pub we would look to work with the bus companies to do pub and go – so a pint in the Foundry and then a bus to the match, that’s our aim.”

Opponents to the stadium claim the move may result in a “significant loss” of city centre income.

The No Kingsford Stadium group also argue that many businesses in Seaton and King Street will be “no longer viable” if the plans are approved.

Originally published and copyright Press and Journal – 19 September 2017