The Dons have been given the go-ahead to complete construction of the club’s new Kingsford stadium after a judge overwhelmingly ruled against legal objections raised by local protestors.
The No Kingsford Stadium (NKS) group raised £66,000 to cover the costs of a courtroom battle aimed at halting further work on Aberdeen FC’s £50 million.
And the protestors brought Aberdeen City Council to the Court of Session in Edinburgh over the decision to grant permission for the huge development, claiming it contravened its own planning rules.
But yesterday, judge Lord Tyre cleared the path for future work as he dismissed every part of the objectors’ legal case, dismissing aspects of it as having “no substance” and being “not well-founded”.
He did describe concerns over the impact of the development on the community as “legitimate” but it was the sole chink of light for the group.
Club chairman Stewart Milne described the verdict as the “end of a long, hard battle.”
And Dons manager Derek McInnes said the decision could mean that players will be training at the new facility by the summer.
NKS do now have 21 days to appeal the decision and have said they were “considering matters” with their legal team.
However, it is understood that any appeal would struggle to find favour with the court due to how thoroughly their legal case was dismissed.
In his judgement, published in detail online, Lord Tyne said NKS had not “identified an error of law” in the council’s handling of the planning application, and that he was “not entitled to interfere with its decision”.
He added that NKS’s criticisms were “not well founded” and that although the group’s concerns were “legitimate”, the council had worked in accordance with the development plan policy when deciding upon Kingsford.
Mr McInnes has previously said that the new ground, with accompanying training facilities, is crucial to the Dons’ future success on the pitch as well as off.
Last night he said the side would “take comfort” at being able to progress with the Kingsford development.
He added: “We had been pushing on with the work and that probably gives you an indication of how confident we were.
“Now we can really motor on. It is all systems go to finish the first phase.
“This reinforces how important these facilities are going to be for everyone and hopefully in time we will see that.
“We should certainly be training there by the summer.”
In a statement, issued in the wake of the verdict, NKS said: “We are disappointed with the outcome of the judicial review.
“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 campaign.”
NKS revealed in June that, of a £70,000 target, they had brought in £66,000 to back their legal fees.
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The group confirmed last night that the cash generated from the fundraising drive was all used to fund the legal challenge.
A council spokesperson said: “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.”