As part of the Kingsford planning application, there was detail provided exploring a number of sites within Aberdeen City that in theory had potential to accommodate the proposed development.  The sites discussed were as follows:

  • Pittodrie;
  • Loirston;
  • Calder Park;
  • Kings Links;
  • Former AECC, Bridge of Don;
  • Proposed AECC, Dyce;
  • Bellfield Farm, Kingswells

The Environmental Statement concluded that there are no suitable sites to be considered within Aberdeen City Centre or the two town centres of Rosemount and Torry set out in the Local Development Plan (LDP).

The new stadium and training development minimum site requirement is 25 hectares (ha) or more; or even for separate stadium and training facilities of 12.5ha each.

The Council requested an update on the availability and suitability of each of the above sites which are set out below:

Pittodrie

  • Site area 5.7ha
  • Ownership:  Aberdeen Football Club
  • LDP Status:  allocated as opportunity site OP87, suitable for residential development

The site is located close to Aberdeen Beach, outside of the City Centre boundary.  The site comprises the current Pittodrie Football Stadium and the rough parking area on Pittodrie Street.

Advantages:

  • Perceived advantage of location relatively close to City Centre (1.9km);
  • Accessible by range of transport modes;
  • Seen as the historic home of Aberdeen FC;
  • Football / leisure / event use already established;

Disadvantages:

  • The site is not physically suitable, in that it is not large enough to accommodate the required stadium structure and its associated infrastructure;
  • Without a larger pitch, UEFA standards would not be met.  The historic main stand dating from the early 20th century is not suitable for re-development;
  • There is a lack of dedicated facilities for the AFC Community Trust to carry out their work and increase their range of activities;
  • There is no scope to provide additional facilities for visitors proposed with new development such as the AFC Museum, AFC Cafe and memorial area;
  • There is no scope to provide the required adjacent training facilities that are currently lacking at Pittodrie
  • A previous Business Case prepared in conjunction with the Council in 2008 confirmed that the re-development of Pittodrie was unviable when the costs were compared against the limited stadium capacity that would be created (circa 12,000);

The current stadium is surrounded by residential use on three side.  Although the stadium has been in place for over 100 years, proposals to intensify this use through re-development would present a clear conflict with adjacent residential use.  The site benefits from Planning Permission in Principle for a residential development of around 350 houses.  This means that the site is a valuable asset owned by AFC, and proceeds from the sale of the site would be put towards the funding of the new stadium at Kingsford.  The Planning Permission in place and the LDP allocation reflect the acceptance of the residential redevelopment proposals.  There are no overriding justification not to follow this route, which has been an aspiration of AFC for a number of years.

Loirston

  • Site area: 15ha;
  • Ownership: Hermiston Securities / Aberdeen City Council;
  • LDP status:  Allocated opportunity site, mixed use including potential community football stadium / Cove Rangers football stadium;

The site is located in the south of the city adjacent to an existing commercial area close to the residential suburb of Cove.  The site is part of the mixed use development allocation and is presently scrubland adjacent to Loirston Loch.

Advantages:

  • Good location; southern gateway site with good accessibility;
  • Part of wider masterplan area in LDP for mixed use development;

Disadvantages:

  • No longer deliverable due to lack of land for training facilities and stadium parking;

In 2010-2011 detailed planning application for a 21,000 capacity stadium at Loriston and associated training facilities at Calder Park were submitted and progressed by AFC.  These applications were supported by the Council; however the applications were withdrawn by the applicant before the associated legal agreements were concluded, so planning permission was not released.  At an advanced stage of the planning process for the new stadium, the political leadership of Aberdeen City Council changed and proposals for a new City South Academy were progressed (planning reference 151082).  This rendered a planning permission for Loirston undeliverable due to the absence of land available for training facilities and stadium parking.

Calder Park

  • Site area: 11ha
  • Ownership: Aberdeen City Council
  • LDP status:  Allocated opportunity site, mixed use Cove Rangers football stadium

Close to Loirston, the site is located in the south of the city adjacent to an existing commercial area and close to the residential suburb of Cove.  The site is part of the development allocation for the development of a new football stadium for Cove Rangers.  The majority of the site is presently being developed through the construction of the new City South Academy and Cove Rangers new stadium, so is not available.

Advantages:

  • Good location, southern gateway site with good accessibility;
  • Part of wider masterplan area in LDP for mixed use development;

Disadvantages:

  • No longer available;

Calder Park includes part of the same site referred to at Loirston, where the associated training facilities for the Loirston Stadium were proposed.  As noted above, Aberdeen City Council progressed proposals for a new City South Academy on the part of the Calder Park side that was going to accommodate AFC’s training facilities.  In 2016, Cove Rangers secured planning permission (planning reference 160246) for a new football ground and stand in the north eastern part of the site.  This coupled with the City South Academy (now under construction) means that there is no land at Calder Park available for any other use.

King’s Links

  • Site area: 10ha
  • Ownership:  Aberdeen City Council
  • LDP status:   Green belt / Green Space Network / Developed Coastal Management Area

The site comprises the Kings Links driving range and adjacent area of open space.  Kings Links lies between the eastern edge of the built up area and the Beach area and has an open nature.

Advantages:

  • Good location; close to City Centre;
  • Close to AFC’s existing stadium at Pittodrie;

Disadvantages:

  • Loss of leisure facility (golfing);
  • Higher construction costs due to coastal location;
  • Too small in which to deliver the Club’s requirements;
  • Not available;

Aberdeen City Council confirmed that the land at King’s Links is not ‘common good’ land.  Although previously identified as a possible location for a new community stadium in the 2014 Strategic Development Plan, the more recent 2017 Local Development Plan has no such allocation and zones the land Green belt / Green Space Network / Developed Coastal Management Area in which there is a presumption against development.

Former AECC, Bridge of Don

  • Site area; 21ha
  • Ownership:  Aberdeen City Council
  • LDP status:  allocated for mixed use development opportunity, including space for a park and choose facility and a household waste recycling centre.

The former Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre lies adjacent to the A90 trunk road, currently the main route into the City from the north.  This will change following the opening of the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Road (AWPR) in 2018.  The adjacent area is densely populated with various industrial uses and housing nearby.

Advantages:

  • Outwith City Centre but accessible by a range of transport modes;

Disadvantages:

  • The site is not directly accessed from the AWPR, and it is questionable if there would be capacity on the road network to accommodate the development, due to level of commercial development in the area;
  • The nature of the site does not lend itself to accommodating a stadium and training facilities of the scale required by AFC;
  • Aberdeen City Council (landowner) will be seeking a capital receipt from the site sale to invest in the new AECC at Dyce;

A Planning Permission in Principle allocation is currently pending for the mixed use redevelopment of the former AECC site.  A draft Masterplan has already been prepared on behalf of Aberdeen City Council as landowner and shows predominately residential scheme with some hotel and other commercial uses proposed.  There is no evidence to suggest that ACC would be willing to divert from these mixed use plans to pursue a new stadium with AFC.

Proposed AECC, Dyce

  • Site Area: 62ha
  • Ownership: University of Aberdeen
  • LDP Status:  Site boundaries match Rowett North, allocated for Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre and complementary employment uses

The proposed replacement Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre is presently under construction so is not available.

Advantages:

  • Large enough to accommodate the development proposal;
  • Good connectivity to A96 and AWPR;
  • Part of wider development area;

Disadvantages:

  • The site is entirely occupied by the new Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre proposal which is now under construction;

In summary, this site may have been a possible location for the proposed development prior to 2012, but has not been available since then due to progressing the AECC development.

Bellfield Farm, Kingswells

  • Site area: 48ha
  • Ownership: Multiple
  • LDP status: Majority of site in Green belt, southern extent part of Countesswells development allocation

The land at Bellfield Farm is generally open agricultural land, with some woodland to the east.  The site is bounded to the north by the A944 Westhill road.  The land is close to the village of Kingswells.  Early phase sof the Countesswells development are under construction to the south.

Advantages:

  • Closer to Aberdeen City Centre;
  • Significant studies have been previously carried out in considering a large stadium in this location;

Disadvantages:

  • Proximity to existing and proposed housing;
  • Green belt status;
  • Further from AWPR junction than Kingsford;
  • We also understand that the land is no longer available for this use;

In 2002, land at Bellfield Farm, Kingswells, was the subject of an application for Outline Planning Permission for a Regional Centre for Sporting and Leisure Excellence incorporating a 30,000 capacity Football Stadium.  This application was supported by Aberdeen City Council as planning authority.  The application was progressed in line with the 2008 bid to host the Euro championship football tournament, which was ultimately awarded to Austria and Switzerland.  The status of the land at Bellfield Farm has dramatically changed since it was progressed as a suitable site for a stadium in 2003.  A 165ha area to the south has permission for, and is currently being built out as the Countesswells ‘new community’ in the west of the City.  It is no longer available, or particularly suitable for accommodating a new stadium and training facilities.

Opportunity Sites Review

As it stands the Aberdeen Local Development Plan 2017 contained 116 opportunity sites for future development.

  • The largest allocated development opportunity site within the defined Aberdeen City Centre area is Denburn/Woolmanhill at 1.9ha.  Other brownfield sites within the city centre include George Street / Crooked Lane at 0.96ha and Marischal Square at 0.9ha;
  • There is no allocated, or potential brownfield redevelopment sites within the city centre area which extend to 25ha;
  • On the edge of the city, larger development allocations include Broadford Works at 3.6ha and Pittodrie (residential) at 6ha.  Neither site is available and both are too small to meet the minimum size requirement;
  • There are no allocated or potential brownfield redevelopment sites with the edge (walking distance) of the city centre area which extend to 25ha;
  • Widening the search to all allocated sites of 25ha or more highlight 19 opportunity sites (see table below).  These have not taken account of sites at Nigg Bay, Skene Road, Hazlehead and Blackhills Quarry as these are specialist harbour, cemetery and quarry related uses.
  • Using the example of even a 12.5ha site requirement to accommodate a site for either a stadium or training facilities does not highlight any suitable site allocated in the LDP.
  • In summary, this process has not  highlighted any further sequentially preferable sites.
SiteZoningArea (ha)Notes
MurcarCommercial27.8Not available. Part of the 'The Core' business park - approved and under construction
Berryhill, MurcarCommercial68.4Not available. Part of the 'The Core' business park - approved and under construction
GrandhomeResidential323Not available. Development Framework agreed for entire site. Planning Permission in Principle approved. Detailed approvals granted for early phases. Development commenced
DubfordCommercial35.8Not available. Approved and under construction.
Davidsons MillResidential29.5Not available. Approved and under construction.
StoneywoodResidential42.3Not available. Approved and under construction.
Rowett NorthResidential63.9Not available. Referred to in alternative sites considered. New AECC under approved and under construction.
Craibstone SouthResidential42.6Not available. Development Framework agreed for entire site. Planning Permission in Principle approved.
Rowett SouthResidential106.85Not available. Development Framework agreed for entire site.
GreenfernsResidential69.6Not available. Development Framework agreed for entire site.
Dyce DriveCommercial108Not available. Approved and under construction.
Prime FourCommercial50Not available. Approved and under construction.
Maidencraig SouthResidential29.8Not available. Planning permission granted.
GreenfernsResidential60.4Not available. EIA screening opinion for mixed use development from 2015.
CountesswellsResidential165.1Not available. Approved and under construction.
FriarsfieldResidential29.2Not available. Approved and under construction.
OldfoldResidential48.9Not available. Approved and under construction.
CoveResidential30Not available. Approved and under construction.
LoirstonResidential119.2Not available. Residential, commercial and retail use now proposed. Referred to in Alternative Sites Considered.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.