Aberdeen Football Club has confirmed that the planning application for its new £50m football and community sports hub at Kingsford will not be presented at the full council meeting in June and now looks likely to be deferred until October.
The announcement follows recent requests from the City Council and consultees for further information and clarification to inform assessment of the application, including additional environmental surveys.
The club has already provided comprehensive information, reports and studies to support their detailed application in line with the planning process.
However, given that this is a major application and to ensure that all potential impacts are adequately assessed the club has carried out this additional work requested and submitted the relevant reports within the allotted timescale.
Executive vice chairman, George Yule, said: “Although this is later than we had hoped, we are confident that, if planning permission is granted in October, we will still meet the original target timescales of completing the community sports campus and football training academy in 2018 and the new stadium for the 2020/21 season.
“We have already invested considerable resource, both internally and with our team of external experts, in developing a comprehensive planning application package. This important development will deliver real benefit in sporting, social and economic terms for stakeholders and we look forward to it being considered on its merits via the statutory planning process.
“We provided the additional information requested as part of a positive and co-operative two-way process between the club and the City Council, both of whom are committed to ensuring that the application brought forward is considered rigorously against a comprehensive package of supporting information.”
The club has also released new images of the facings for the proposed stadium today which they say is an example of this on-going dialogue.
“These images show that AFC is taking on-board the feedback from the planners and has responded to their request for a design that softens the external façade of the building,” explained Mr Yule.
Mr Yule added: “A delay of a few weeks at this stage is not unduly concerning as we can make specific adjustments to our project schedule.
"However, further slippage, beyond October, or a negative outcome will result in us missing our target timescales and this will have a material impact on the club’s ability to recruit and retain talent and to maintain our current position within Scottish football at a time when our football staff are delivering success for the city, the local Community and the club.
“AFC ensures this region is profiled nationally and internationally and has further plans to enhance its reputation as a visionary organisation, competing successfully in domestic and European completion, with best in class facilities for our supporters, staff and players at all ages. We cannot deliver this vision and provide a positive role model for young people without suitable new facilities.”
Subject to planning approval, the proposals will see more than £50m invested to create a new home for the Dons; provide a base for the significant expansion of the award-winning work of the Aberdeen FC Community Trust programmes on social inclusion, participation in sport, life skills and healthy lifestyles for all ages across the region; and create a focal point for footballing excellence in the north of Scotland.
The project would be delivered in two phases, with the community and sports facilities and football academy constructed first and the stadium in the second phase.