Dons stadium supporters and objectors clashed for the final time yesterday as a long-awaited decision on the multimillion pound project looms.
The £50million stadium and training facilities plan for Kingsford, between Westhill and Kingswells, has proved a battleground in the north-east since it was first mooted.
A pre-determination meeting held yesterday came just hours after the release of e-mails held by the No to Kingsford campaign group showing that senior city council planners had expressed doubts about the project.
In the correspondence, obtained under Freedom of Information legislation, former council infrastructure boss Pete Leonard was informed by a worker in the council’s planning team in April 2016 that “the scale, type and form of development now proposed is way beyond what we are likely to be in a position to reasonably support.”
Mr Leonard has since left the local authority.
Additional information submitted by the club argued there was no other suitable location for the new facility and that the stadium was needed to keep the Dons playing at a top level.
However, campaigners against the development have cited concerns over the loss of greenbelt land and increased traffic in the area.
Aberdeenshire council has came out against the plans but the club has the backing of the region’s chamber of commerce and the city council’s economic team.
A decision was due last year but the Dons pulled the plans to rework them and the new additional documents were discussed at the meeting yesterday.
Councillors heard representations from the club, opposing community councils in Kingswells and Westhill, local residents and favourable opinions from local businessmen and academics.
Dons manager Derek McInnes said: “I have been pressing for better facilities for my players, for the fans, since my first day in the job.”
Club chairman Stewart Milne dismissed the council planning e-mails and said he was still confident of approval.
He said: “I can assure (objectors) that the club has a desire to work with them to come up with a solution that satisfies everyone.”
Diane Reid of the No to Kingsford group said: “I think the club have failed to demonstrate the requirement to deviate from the green belt policy and the economic argument is still very weak.”
Councillors will make a final decision on the application on January 29.