VIDEO: Councillors run gauntlet of Kingsford protesters ahead of crunch meetings

Councillors had to run the gauntlet of almost 150 protesters yesterday to visit the site of Aberdeen FC’s proposed new stadium.

Members of the city council were inspecting the area earmarked for Pittodrie’s replacement ahead of a crunch debate tomorrow.

They packed into a coach at the townhouse and travelled out of the city to the fields between Westhill and Kingswells where the Dons hope to build a 20,000 capacity stadium.

But as their vehicle arrived, they were met with a large turn-out from the No Kingsford Stadium group, which has vehemently opposed the plans since they were first unveiled.

As they disembarked and put up their umbrellas for the rain, they were met with shouts of protest and a sea of signs, placards and banners.

Angry demonstrators lined the path as planning officer Gavin Evans attempted to give politicians an understanding of the scale of the £50million project.

The planning application for the stadium will be considered at a pre-determination hearing of the local authority’s planning, development and management committee tomorrow, where members will hear from delegates on both sides of the debate.

A decision on the huge arena, training academy and heritage museum at Kingsford will be made at a full meeting of Aberdeen City Council next month.

Sir Alex Ferguson is among a number of high-profile backers of the scheme, which the club argues is necessary to safeguard the club’s future.

But vocal opponents have highlighted a number of concerns regarding the green belt status of the land, potential environmental impacts, and the effect it will have on parking and traffic in the nearby communities of Westhill and Kingswells.

Diane Reid, one of the directors of No Kingsford Stadium, said she was pleased that so many people came along to protest visit despite the rain.

She said: “Considering how shocking the weather was earlier, we’re delighted that so many people turned out to support the campaign.

“I think the councillors would have to have taken on board the strength of feeling here, there was clearly a presence and there was a lot of banners – people have really made an effort to show their opposition to the plan.

“All the facts will be given to the councillors, and hopefully they will make a decision solely based on planning, and they would be looking at policy to see what applies here.

“We’ve had a very organised campaign, and we’ve had phenomenal support not only from the Westhill and Kingswells communities, but also further afield as well.

“There’s a lot of people that feel very strongly about this.”

A total of 10,147 submissions were received in a wide-ranging consultation ahead of tomorrow’s meeting.

Of those who took par, 52.5% were in favour and 47.3% opposed.

One resident taking part in yesterday’s protest was former Aberdeen Lord Provost Peter Steven.

He said: “We were involved in 2001 at the last protest when it was going to be built at Bellfield, so for plans to build a stadium in this area to come back all these years later is absolute nonsense.

“You can’t believe how bad it’s going to be with infrastructure and parking and drunks wandering about in the street.”

A meeting of the Kingswells Yes to Kingsford and the Westhill for Kingsford groups will take place this Sunday at the Holiday Inn in Westhill from 6pm to 8pm.

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