Trump triumphs in battle for Scottish golf resort

marksimonbrown mark at
Tue Nov 4 00:44:32 GMT 2008

Trump triumphs in battle for Scottish golf resort
by Haroon Siddique and agencies
The Guardian 
Monday November 03 2008

Donald Trump's controversial plans for a £1bn golf resort in
Aberdeenshire today won approval from the Scottish government.

The American billionaire has been fighting opposition by
environmentalists to his plans to build what he claims will be the
finest course in the world, complete with a five-star hotel, exclusive
chalets, a golf academy, 950 timeshare flats, and a "Trump Boulevard".

Part of it will encroach on protected sand dunes near Balmedie, north
of Aberdeen.

The RSPB and the Scottish Wildlife Trust were among those who opposed
the project, which was rejected by a local council committee last

But the decision to reject the application was viewed by business
leaders as a lost opportunity for huge investment in the area, and a
public inquiry was launched in June after the plans were called in by
the Scottish government.

The finance secretary, John Swinney, said today there was "a
significant economic and social benefit" in granting the application.

The First Minister, Alex Salmond, who is also the local MSP for
Gordon, where the resort will be built, said he had previously been
"cup-tied" from commenting on the issue.

But he said today that "the economic and social benefits for the
north-east of Scotland substantially outweigh any environmental
impact, and that this is demonstrated in the evaluation of the three
reporters to the public local inquiry".

Trump said today he was "greatly honoured" by the decision and pledged
that the course would be "a tremendous asset and source of pride for
both Aberdeenshire and Scotland for many generations".

Trump still faces obstacles to making the project a reality, including
raising the capital for the project. And a fisherman, Michael Forbes,
whose farm lies in the middle of the site initially approved, has
insisted he will never sell his land to Trump.

The plans were first approved in principle by the local Formartine
area committee of Aberdeenshire council last year.

But the council's infrastructure committee, led by the Liberal
Democrat councillor Martin Ford, then sparked uproar among supporters
by voting to turn down the resort application.

Ford said today he was "extremely disappointed" by the decision.

"This is a very, very bad precedent indeed and sends out a bad message
about the protection in Scotland of our natural heritage sites. It
appears to me to be a vanity project," he said.

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