Housing plans at Trump’s golf resort branded ‘weak substitute’ for original proposal

The Trump Organisation’s plans to build 500 new homes as part of a £150 million second phase of development at its golf resort in Aberdeenshire have been described as a “weak substitute” for the original proposals put forward 10 years ago.

Plans were lodged with Aberdeenshire Council for the homes on a site within the Trump International Golf Links estate at Menie, near Balmedie, in July this year.

Housing plans at Trump’s golf resort branded ‘weak substitute’ for original proposal

Other plans for the 1,500 acre estate include 50 hotel cottages, sports centre, retail, equestrian and commercial spaces, alongside other resort related leisure facilities.

However an economic expert at Aberdeenshire Council has described the scheme as a “weak substitute” compared to original plans approved by the Scottish Government a decade ago.

A council memo prepared by Douglas Rennie, a senior business development executive at the local authority, said the new proposal is “disappointing” and “weighted very heavily” towards residential housing rather than tourism.

The Trump Organisation described the remarks in the memo as “naive at best”.

The initial planning application, which was submitted in March 2007 and ratified on the basis that its economic benefits would outweigh the environmental harm of building on part of Foveran Links, a site of special scientific interest (SSSI), provided for 950 holiday homes, a 450 bed hotel, and 35 golf villas.

But in his memo, which will be considered by councillors as part of the planning process, Mr Rennie cautioned that although the new plan “fits well” with the regional economic strategy and would “generate an increase in economic growth for the local economy,” it was not so favourable when compared with the original planning application.

Housing plans at Trump’s golf resort branded ‘weak substitute’ for original proposal

In a statement, Trump Aberdeen said the council acknowledged that the Trump development had significantly contributed to the economic future of the region.

The statement added: “This next phase of development will bring forward improvements to infrastructure, further leisure facilities, hotel cottages and lodges, and residential homes.

“The plans are entirely consistent with the original vision and objectives of the project, but also reflect the significant changes in the economy and markets which have evolved in the past 10 years since the council set out its preferences for phasing.

“Given the significant unknowns in the current economic content, any suggestion that a £150m investment is not attractive or weak takes some believing.

“The remarks are naive at best.”

A pre-determination hearing will take place on December 12 at Ellon Community Campus.

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