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Donald Trump’s application for new golf course approved

Aberdeenshire councillors voted eight votes to four in favour of the plans for Menie Estate.

The proposals were approved by eight votes to four (Danny Lawson/PA)
The proposals were approved by eight votes to four (Danny Lawson/PA)

By Lewis McKenzie, PA Scotland Political Reporter

Plans for a second Donald Trump golf course on the Menie Estate near Balmedie have been approved by Aberdeenshire Council.

Members of the council’s Formartine Area Committee backed the application made by Trump International Golf Links Scotland by eight votes to four.

The course will be named after the US President’s mother, Mary Anne MacLeod, who was born and brought up on the Isle of Lewis before emigrating to New York.

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Donald Trump plays a round of golf on the Trump Turnberry resort in South Ayrshire during his visit to the UK in 2018 (Jane Barlow/PA)

In their considerations on Tuesday, councillors heard the location of the MacLeod Course was logical as it will share the existing clubhouse and associated facilities on site, and the overall design of the proposals is considered to be well thought out and appropriate.

Making their recommendations, councillors said the principle of locating a further golf course within the Balmedie coastal landscape was long established and the developer had provided a golf course layout that would integrate well into the landscape visually and would address environmental concerns adequately.

They stressed the conditions attached to the application would address the significant issue of environmental monitoring and control.

Councillors were advised the proposal would help to promote the north-east as a key tourism destination in Scotland and improve the visitor experience by strengthening, supporting and diversifying the industry.

The project had continued to demonstrate a “considerable commitment” to invest in the region, councillors said.

The committee was also told the course would appeal to an international as well as a domestic audience and would increase the number of visitors to the region.

Although there were no objections from Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH, it had advised parts of the course could have been redesigned to make them less susceptible to future coastal erosion or a commitment made for adaptive management as part of an agreed Shoreline Management Plan.

Following the meeting, committee chairwoman Isobel Davidson said: “This matter was given due consideration by members and will enable the applicant to proceed with their plans for a second golf course at Menie.

“However, there is a clear conflict between economic benefit and public interest.

“Therefore, it will be vital that the conditions to strengthen the environmental management plan added by the committee are strictly adhered to.”

Aberdeenshire’s standing and reputation have already been damaged by being associated with Mr Trump Scottish Greens councillor Martin Ford

On Thursday, the committee will consider a separate application for a major housing development at the Menie Estate.

Scottish Greens councillor Martin Ford said he would not vote on the planning applications for housing because previous comments about Donald Trump and his businesses means he prejudges the case.

He said: “I have previously expressed the view that Aberdeenshire’s standing and reputation have already been damaged by being associated with Mr Trump because of his incitement of violence, racism, misogyny and environmental vandalism.

“In effect, I have already said Mr Trump, his business and what he stands for should not be welcomed here.

“Accordingly, I shall declare an interest on that basis and leave the chamber while the application is decided.”

PA

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