Aberdeen’s proposed new stadium remains in council plans

A proposed new stadium for Scottish Premiership football club Aberdeen remains part of plans to regenerate the city centre and beachfront after a proposal to remove it from the scheme was rejected.

Progress is continuing on the various workstreams which are designed to improve the city centre and the beach as part of masterplans for the areas, a committee has heard. Aberdeen City Council’s Full Council agreed several recommendations for moving the projects forward, along with updates for what stages they are at.

The club in November welcomed a report by the City Council which laid out plans for a new beachfront stadium as part of a wider redevelopment project. Aberdeen currently plays at Pittodrie Stadium, which is located on the city’s beachfront. The club had previously agreed a deal to build a new stadium on the outskirts of Aberdeen but in August the team released a statement saying that it was supporting the council’s new beachfront vision.

Plans for a £50m (€60m/$66.6m) ground with a 20,000 capacity in Kingsford had been approved in 2019, but local councillors last year detailed plans for a stadium and leisure plans at the beachfront. The hope is to strengthen links between the city centre of Aberdeen and the beach.

The wider proposed £100m development includes improvements to the city centre, the creation of a new city market, and the revitalisation of the beach area, with plans for a pier, new green hub, and a state-of-the-art sports area which could include a new stadium for Aberdeen FC.

For the Beach Masterplan, a report to committee gave updates of the stages of the various projects, and it was decided that reports on progress of these are to be given at the June meeting of Full Council. Several long-term items, including the proposed new stadium, are to work to an outline business case.

However, at the latest meeting, Liberal Democrat councillor Ian Yuill proposed that the stadium be removed from the projects attached to the £100m masterplan. “There are 18 projects listed, there’s only one we don’t believe should be progressed to a business case,” Yuill said, according to the Press and Journal newspaper.

“That’s not because necessarily that the stadium shouldn’t happen, but we believe it should be Aberdeen Football Club that undertakes the work in terms of developing business cases, not this council.”

However, Yuill’s proposal was roundly rejected, with 42 councillors voting to keep the stadium in the plans, with only two voting against. Council Leader, Jenny Laing, said: “The officers are going to bring back worked up proposals around how we can help develop these sports facilities, the Beach Ballroom, and the possibility that the stadium could be part of that.

“We should explore every opportunity that we have to try and keep it within the city centre so that we get that footfall. The people that are coming there will actually help to boost the economy. It doesn’t make any sense that the club would go off and do their own business case when we are looking at the integration of facilities.”

In December it emerged that Aberdeen’s proposed new stadium could have a capacity up to a fifth less than initially estimated. Commercial director Rob Wicks told the club’s annual general meeting that 16,000 to 17,000 is the likely capacity of the stadium.

Image: Aberdeen/Aberdeen City Council