Aberdeen welcomes rejection of stadium challenge

Scottish Premiership football club Aberdeen will press forward with the development of its new stadium after a judge today (Friday) threw out a legal challenge against the project.

The first phase of the scheme is already underway, with work having commenced on the complex in April 2018, but the No Kingsford Stadium group had raised a judicial review into the planning process, claiming the site chosen ventured into green belt land and better options could have been selected.

Aberdeen City Council contested the action from the pressure group and the Court of Session today ruled that it wasn’t at fault when granting planning permission for the project. In his ruling Judge Lord Tyre said: “In my opinion the petitioner has not identified an error of law in the approach of the council that would entitle this court to interfere with its decision to grant planning permission for the proposed development.”

The 20,000-seat stadium will cost £50m (€58.1m/$66.1m), with the complex also including a training centre, community hub and youth development academy. An Aberdeen City Council spokesman told the BBC: “We note the outcome of the judicial review and welcome the court’s ruling that a robust planning process was followed in determining the application.”

No Kingsford Stadium has 21 days to appeal the decision and said in a statement: “We will now take time to consider matters with our legal team before deciding on (the) next best steps. Meantime we take this opportunity to thank our many supporters, from across the community, who have given their time and financial backing to the No Kingsford Stadium campaign.”

Aberdeen has played at Pittodrie Stadium since the club’s formation in 1903 and has claimed the new facilities are vital to its long-term future. Following the outcome of the judicial review, Aberdeen chairman Stewart Milne said: “The outcome of the judicial review is welcome news for the club, the Council and the wider region.

“We can now confidently complete phase one, the community sports hub and training facilities, and start moving towards delivery of phase two, AFC’s new stadium.

“We’ve already been engaging positively with local residents and community groups who support our plans. But, following today’s decision, we will reach out to the whole community, even those who have objected to the plans, so that we can work positively with them to deliver a community sports hub that meets their aspirations, best-in-class football training facilities and, ultimately, a stadium that the whole region can be proud of.”