Further “positive” talks have been held between council leaders and Dons officials over plans for a new football stadium at Aberdeen beachfront.
Now we can exclusively reveal more meetings have been held between AFC chairman Dave Cormack and local authority leaders – and both parties have described the talks as “positive”.
Douglas Lumsden, the co-leader of Aberdeen City Council, said he hoped the discussions would “find a way forward that will work for the club, the council and the city centre in general”.
‘Better for city if club could remain in beach area’
City chiefs want any new stadium to include other community facilities too, such as a new home for extreme sports centre Transition and a replacement for the ageing Beach Leisure Centre.
It would be included as part of the council’s revised city centre masterplan, which includes £150 million of investment in transport infrastructure and regeneration of the beach area.
“I still believe it would be much better for the club and the city as a whole if we could find a way for the club to remain in the beach area,” Mr Lumsden said.
“We will continue working and looking at options around the beach which could mean a football stadium remaining in the area.
“Our fingers are crossed talks continue to go well.
“As long as I am co-leader of the council I will do everything I can to try and make it happen.
“We want it to be wider than just a stadium. We are looking to see if there are any facilities we can house in the same complex to allow it to take place.”
Options being considered
A number of options for the stadium site are being considered, with land currently occupied by the former Doubletree Hotel – which closed last year – seen as the most likely candidate.
Planning permission already exists for the site at Kingsford, close to Westhill, and the Dons’ new training complex opened there in October 2019.
However, the Doubletree site has become available since planning permission was granted – opening the door for Aberdeen to stay in the city.
A spokeswoman said the club would be unable to comment further at this stage, but described the discussions as “positive”.
Beach is ‘fantastic natural asset’
However, at a question-and-answer session with fans in March, Mr Cormack insisted the Dons are eager “to see what part we can play” in the regeneration of the beach area, and praised the city council for its “approach to thinking big”.
“We have a fantastic natural asset at the beach. I commend the council for developing TECA [P&J Live], which will be a real asset to the economy when we come out of this [pandemic],” he said.
“A similar approach to thinking big for the beach renovation is to be applauded as well.
“From a club perspective, we welcome Aberdeen City Council’s recognition of our major role within the community and our contribution to the local economy, as evidenced by its proposals for the new stadium to be part of this regeneration of the beach area.
“As a club we are keen, along with other stakeholders, to see what part we can play in this.
“It’s important to stress that the site at the beach was not available to us when we sought planning permission for Kingsford.”