NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Trump Organisation plans 500 new homes at Menie

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Media caption'We have created a world-class golf destination'

The Trump Organisation has said it will submit a planning application for 500 homes at its golf resort in Aberdeenshire.

It said £150m will be invested in the development at the Menie estate.

The original vision for the golf resort included two courses, a large hotel, and hundreds of houses and holiday cottages.

To date, one golf course, a clubhouse and a small hotel at the original estate house have been created.

The plans will be considered by Aberdeenshire Council.

The Trump Organisation has claimed that 2,000 jobs will be supported during the construction phase, with nearly 300 permanent jobs after completion.

Sarah Malone, executive vice president of Trump International in Aberdeen, said: "After extensive market research we are bringing forward a suite of luxury homes and five-star hotel cottages which we believe meet the needs and demands of consumers today.

"From the outset, our vision was to create a world-class leisure destination and sustainable community defined by quality and authenticity.

"This next phase builds on the international reputation of our championship golf course, ranked within the top 50 golf courses in the world, and harnesses the natural beauty of this mature site providing an exceptional place to live, rest and play.

"Improvements to the region's infrastructure and recovery signs in the economy makes this the right time to drive forward this next major phase of development."

Analysis - By Glenn Campbell, BBC Scotland political correspondent

Image copyright Trump Organisation
Image caption The Trump Estate is the branding for the planned project (Artist impression of planned housing)

These are long awaited development plans from Donald Trump's company.

Ten years ago he promised to spend £1bn and create 6,000 jobs developing a golf resort in Aberdeenshire.

By last year, the Trump Organisation said it had spent about a tenth of that.

Much of the development was put on hold while they fought and lost a lengthy legal fight against an offshore wind farm.

It is now up and generating electricity.

Despite that, the Trump Organisation has decided to submit a planning application for a new phase of the resort including 500 homes.

These proposals diverge from the original planning consent and are likely to involve a fresh wrangle with the authorities.

But the local area is hungry for investment to offset the decline in oil and gas.

Donald Trump was only given permission to build on protected sand dunes on the basis that the scale of economic benefit would outweigh environmental concerns.

That economic benefit has yet to be delivered.

Branded The Trump Estate, the plan is to feature a range of two, three, four and five-bedroom cottages, priced from £295,000, to larger properties for more than £1m.

Aberdeenshire councillor Martin Ford, who opposed the original plans, told BBC Scotland: "The Scottish government's justification for giving planning permission on a protected nature conservation site was that colossal golf resort, with the 450-bedroom five-star hotel and all the rest of it.

"That is clearly not going to be built and nobody now believes that it will."

And local resident David Milne, a vocal objector to the Menie development over the years, said the promised economic benefits had not been seen, and that the Trump Organisation was now pressing ahead with more work at the expense of local people.

A spokesman for Aberdeenshire Council said: "We have received the planning application for proposed developments at the Menie Estate, Aberdeenshire.

"Officers will spend time processing this application before it can be considered valid or live and it will appear on our website as soon as that process is complete."

Earlier this month, an assessment that the golf course development had "partially destroyed" the specially-protected site it was built on was made public.

The draft monitoring report was drawn up by the government watchdog, Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH).

The course was partly built on Foveran Links - a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), originally listed as one of the most exceptional sand dune systems in Britain.

Image copyright Vattenfall
Image caption The European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre was opposed by Donald Trump

Planning permission was granted on the basis that the potential economic benefit would outweigh environmental harm.

Turbine development

At the start of July, a major North Sea wind power development off the Aberdeen coast which was opposed by Donald Trump generated its first power.

Eleven turbines make up the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC).

Power from the wind farm - developed by Swedish energy group Vattenfall - is being exported to the National Grid.

Mr Trump had battled unsuccessfully in the courts to halt the project, before he became US president.

He claimed they would spoil the view from the golf course at Menie.

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