Aberdeen Football Club today confirmed that it is hoping that a decision by Councillors on its plans for a community sports hub, football training facilities and new stadium at Kingsford will be taken before the end of the year.
The Club asked for a deferral on the decision over its planning application, due in October, to allow more discussions with planning officials to ensure that when the application goes before the Councillors they have all the information to properly assess the proposals.
AFC chairman, Stewart Milne, said: “Throughout this process, we have endeavoured to work constructively and co-operatively with Aberdeen City Council and have met every request for additional information.
“Given our proposals are so vital for the club, but also have a major socio-economic significance for the city and wider region, we felt it was too important to go forward for a decision when it transpired that greater understanding was required, particularly around our approach to site selection and the need for co-location of the stadium and training facilities.”
“Our ambition is to be a top 100 European Club and to drive maximum socio-economic benefits into our communities through the power and passion of football. Our players and football management are at the heart of delivering that vision.
With one complex at Kingsford that encompasses a new stadium, football training academy and community sports hub, we will have a focal point for our footballers and their coaches to train and interact with the community, as well as off the pitch operations.
This progressive modernisation strategy will lead the way in Scottish football and become the envy of other Scottish clubs. We intend to provide a centre of excellence which, when combined with other sports facilities, will make the North-east a sporting powerhouse.
Mr Milne added that the Club and its planning experts are meeting regularly with the Council officers to go through all the submitted information to ensure there is absolute clarity and understanding on the key issues. They are aiming to get the planning application before the Councillors by the end of the year.
“This delay is obviously disappointing,” said Mr Milne. “But it’s crucial that we have the best chance of getting the right decision for the club, the city, the region, our fans and the thousands of individuals from all communities who benefit from the activities of the Trust.
“Our AURORA campaign has demonstrated the incredible support for the club’s proposals. This time and in this location we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to be truly ambitious for our club and our city. This is something we cannot afford to turn down in economic terms, in sporting terms and in social welfare terms.”
Mr Milne is hopeful that if the application goes to Full Council in December and the Club is fortunate enough to secure a positive decision, the aim is to get started on site early next year, and to complete phase one, the community sports hub and football training facilities, within a year and for the new stadium to be ready for the 2020/21 season.