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Donald Trump’s application for 550 homes at golf resort given green light

Councillors approved the development at Menie Estate in Aberdeenshire during a meeting on Thursday.

Sarah Malone, executive vice-president of Trump International Golf Links Scotland (Andrew Milligan/PA)
Sarah Malone, executive vice-president of Trump International Golf Links Scotland (Andrew Milligan/PA)

By Lucy Christie, PA Scotland

Councillors have approved the Trump Organisation’s plans to build 550 homes in Aberdeenshire.

The developer has been given the green light to construct the homes plus retail and leisure facilities at Menie Estate, home of Trump International Golf Links, which is owned by the US president.

The application was passed by 38 out of 62 councillors who voted at a meeting in Aberdeen on Thursday.

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Councillors are handed Trump Estate brochures in the council chambers of Aberdeenshire Council (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Approval came despite criticism the scheme deviated from the original plans for the site, which included a 450-bedroom hotel as part of the first phase of the luxury golf resort.

The hotel has not been built, with current tourist accommodation limited to 21 rooms at MacLeod House and an accompanying lodge.

Of the 550 houses agreed, 50 are designated holiday units and 500 a mixture of private residences, rental properties and holiday homes.

The council’s planning committee recommended the application for approval, however, stating it would “still result in development that will provide economic and social benefit to the local area and region”.

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Councillor Martin Ford abstained from the vote (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Councillor Martin Ford, a strong critic of Donald Trump, did not take part in the vote, saying his previously voiced views would exclude him from taking part.

The controversial coastal development was approved after Scottish ministers called in the original planning application and granted approval in 2008.

Plans for a second golf course on the Menie Estate near Balmedie were approved by Aberdeenshire councillors on Tuesday.

Sarah Malone, Trump International Golf Links executive vice-president, said: “I’m absolutely delighted. Common sense has prevailed.

“This has been a very long planning process for this stage in the development. I’m thrilled for the staff and the rest of the consultancy team.

“Today’s very strong recommendation is a clear endorsement by the north-east of Scotland that the Trump development to date is already a success and we want to built on that great foundation and bring forward the future phases of the site.”

We were promised something transformational with this development, I don't think that this is it Councillor Richard Thomson

Councillors heard the properties would be built on an 84-hectare site within the Menie Estate, with the hotel no longer economically viable as Aberdeen is overcapacity.

Planning manager Mairi Stewart said there was a view the proposal was “perhaps less attractive” than the original development plan but acknowledged changes in the economic climate.

Council leader Jim Gifford said he was disappointed there would no longer be a five-star hotel but accepted “things have moved on”.

Councillor Richard Thomson, who opposed the proposals, said he did not accept there had to be a “retreat” from a 450-bed hotel to 50 resort units.

He said: “I think we can do better than this and so can the applicant.

“We were promised something transformational with this development, I don’t think that this is it.”

PA

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