Jul 102012

Tripping Up Trump’s Sue Edwards sees for herself the preparations for the opening of the golf course at Menie Sands and gives an alternative view to what’s been reported in the mainstream newspapers and on radio and TV.

I went to the Menie Estate on Sunday to see how the final preparations were going for the opening of Trump’s golf course on Tuesday.

Dozens of workmen were busy laying turf, erecting gates and planting trees. Lots of titivating was being carried out before the man himself was due to arrive on Monday.

There was even a road-cleaning lorry scrubbing the newly-laid tarmac leading to the temporary clubhouse.

A row of golf buggies were on one side of the new car park, a surprise to me as I thought they were banned under Condition 10 of the Public Inquiry Report.
No doubt the new course and its surroundings will shine like a new pin for those invited to the opening. Trump will have his perfect golf course, with everything that doesn’t suit his style conveniently hidden.

He has painted the row of old Coastguard cottages sparkling white for their owners, but the properties which offend his eyes have been hidden from view. Having failed to persuade Aberdeenshire Council to obtain these properties for him by Compulsory Purchase, he has decided instead to screen them from his golfers.

Pine trees have been planted around the historic old Coastguard station overlooking the temporary clubhouse. Having been dug from other parts of the Menie Estate at the wrong time of year, most have died off, and now their replacements are either dead or dying.

The TV programme Donald Trump’s Fabulous World of Golf shows Trump driving around the dunes. He says to Sarah Malone,

“Sarah, I want to get rid of that house.”

She replies,

“It’s going to create a bit of a stir.”

He goes on,

“Who cares? Who cares? You know what, who cares? It is our property and we can do what we want, we are trying to build the greatest golf course in the world.

 “This house is ugly. There are some houses quite far away from the course but nevertheless they are in view, but we are *berming some of the areas so that you don’t see the houses. I don’t wanna see the houses. And nobody has a problem with it – I guess maybe the people who live in the houses have …”

*A dictionary definition of berm – A small ledge or shoulder of dirt with some type of vegetation, designed to control water runoff, hide something unsightly such as a power substation.

All of the residents have been subjected to constant surveillance by security staff employed by Trump

Leyton Cottage, beside the clubhouse car park, now has a high bank of soil and sand around it to the south and east. The eastern side also has a high wooden and steel gate blocking access to the beach. It is screened to the north by trees.

Until recently, the residents enjoyed uninterrupted views across the dunes, views now blocked by this bank, topped by dying pine saplings. Light to their home is restricted and loose sand is blown into the garden and even into the house itself.

What is a neat grassy bank with shrubs on the golf course side, is a heap of soil, rocks, rubbish, and weeds when seen from the Cottage.

Complaints to Aberdeenshire Council about this high bank have been ignored by the Planning Enforcement Officer, brushed off as ‘a temporary storage of surplus soil’. There doesn’t seem to be any official on the residents’ side.

Residents have been subjected to constant surveillance by security staff employed by Trump. It is hard for us to imagine what it is like to have a security vehicle parked near our home with someone watching at all hours. Only last week a Grampian Police patrol car was outside one of the houses at 3.45 am, and as the owner drove off to work it followed him out to the main road.

So, did those who turned up at Menie Estate on Tuesday to drink champagne and listen to Trump spouting about the greatest golf course in the world, spare a thought for the local residents who have had to live with all of this for the last two years and more, and will live with the consequences forever?

Behind the gloss and glitter and razzamatazz of Trump’s world, did they consider the hidden houses and imagine just what it is like for ordinary, hardworking local people?

Sarah Malone recently stated that 3000 people have signed up to play the new course. According to the ballot on the Old Course at St Andrews, there are just over 256 golfers booked to play today. At that rate, 3000 people could play in just twelve days at Menie.

Can the destruction of the rare dune system and the awful disruption in the lives of the other residents on the Menie Estate really be worth it?

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  27 Responses to “Behind The Gloss And Glitter Of Trump’s Golf Course”

  1. ‎According to this recent article in The Herald, “… the golf clubhouse, car park and a sign erected by Trump at Menie have broken local authority rules.” http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/environment/as-trump-flies-in-for-grand-opening-the-guest-list-diminishes-amid-outcry.1808

  2. Moan moan f****ng moan that’s all we hear from you tree hugging beauts get a life

    • Best to ignore common muck like Paul, not only is he as thick as Trumps comb over…he’s actually proud to of it. Back to your Daily Star and Hollyoaks paul.

  3. thank you Paul for the incisive remark above; clearly you have weighed up the loss of the only moving sand dune area in Scotland, the manner in which people were treated, the loss of habitat, carbon footprint of the scheme….

    For those who haven’t had as much time to weigh the issues as Paul has, please come along to the Belmont Cinema, Aberdeen this week for screenings of ‘youv’ve been trumped’, the Saturday showing(s) – or at least some of them – will have the director and affected residents. Perhaps after seeing the film and talking to people who are living through yet another Trump project, you might have a different opinion than Paul does. – Old Susannah

  4. The owner of the house who had the Grampian Police vehicle outside his house which then followed him, has the right to ask the police officer/s involved to surrender their badge number, take the registration number of the police car and also contact Grampian Police and ask them what they were doing outside their house at 3.45 am and why they followed him. I also suggest they write to their M.S.P, M.P and Alex Salmond to inform them of this incident.

  5. WOW a moving sand dune oh my god !!!!!!!!!!!! Whoop de bloody do get a grip and move on let’s hope it’s not too long till the UTG are bulldozed as well

    • How refreshing to see that intelligent articulation, reasoned argument and rapier wit still exist.

    • Nature reserves took a wrong turn in the past by stabilising sand dunes – the result was a loss of biodiversity. They are now tearing up marram grass to try to get their dunes moving again, though it will take a long time to get the original biodiversity to return. Trump has made the same mistake, but this time with a full understanding that it is a mistake, and in one of the few places where the biodiversity had not been lost. That is unforgivable, particularly as a golf course with identical geometry could have been built anywhere, and this crime against nature will disqualify Trump’s course from ever holding major competitions, destroying any ideas he has about its importance.

  6. Hard to believe it happened after all the well directed opposition. I dare say it couldn’t have happened quite like that even here in the states. Loved Aberdeen when I was there (pre-Trump). Shame on Scotland’s national leaders for forcing this travesty upon it.

  7. Who is this stupid git Paul? Must have an IQ in single digits – or wait! He’s a golfer!!

  8. If a local business man made this course no one would have batted an eyelid, as it’s Mr Trump the local socialists are up in arms.

    I’ve been out for a look and the course has improved that stretch of coastline a million percent, it really is a brilliant course.

    Look at the benefits for the entire community as well, as well as many jobs being created how much money will pour into hotels, restaurants, shops, taxi drivers, airport bookings etc etc, a couple of people having their view changed is a price well worth paying for the local economy.

    Well done Mr Trump, ignore the vocal minority the silent majority are behind you and thank you for bringing this opportunity to Aberdeenshire.

  9. Sue – hi. After you posted your update here I noticed yesterday’s Evening Express had an article on the sign at the entrance to the estate. Seems it’s not quite in conformance with the planning permission (like the car park). I thought I’d just do a wee analysis of this wonderful sign, at http://helpgov.wordpress.com/2012/07/14/whats-in-a-sign-the-new-trump-golf-course/. Enjoy.

  10. There is little point in arguing with anyone like Paul. He doesn’t appear to have much intelligence or education which is why any explanation about dynamic dunes or Sites of Special Scientific interest are a complete mystery to him. He’s only heard about “tree huggers” from his tabloid- most likely the Sun- and obviously doesn’t realise that this issue has nothing to do with trees!

  11. Roger,

    It’s a sign!!

    How can anyone get worked up about something so trivial??


    I believe Paul’s point was why do people moan for the sake of moaning, the article details every little negative but doesn’t once mention the positives, i.e employment and money for the local economy.

    • George – signs are not trivial, they tell you a lot. This one was given planning permission for a certain size and is 83% bigger than approved. That’s either careless (=incompetence) or deliberate (=couldn’t care less, the rules are for someone else not me). A bit like someone being given permission to build a 4-bedroom house next to you and suddenly it’s 7-bedrooms. And I wasn’t getting ‘worked up’ I gave an entirely rational analysis of the thing – read my blog post if you haven’t.

  12. I had a look at some picture online – looks pretty good if you ask me! So what if he wants to hide a couple of ugly houses. I’m sure we would all like to do that to improve our views!

  13. Paul is so funny. Anyone who looks at the evidence is a “tree hugger” Ha.

    From the Express…

    “… a leading geomorphologist yesterday insisted that building the landmark so close to the “inherently unstable” coast could still prove fatal for Trump’s creation.

    Dr Jim Hansom, from the School of Geographical and Earth Sciences at Glasgow University, explained that the defences will divert the water elsewhere, causing problems at other areas of the course.”

    He told the Scottish Sunday Express: “The third green is eroding at the mouth of Blairton Burn, that area has been eroding for many years.

    “The Trump organisation has gone ahead and protected about 250 metres of foreshore but if you protect one part of the shore, you automatically create erosion at other parts of the shore. Basically you’re be robbing Peter to pay Paul.

    “It has an instantaneous impact – the shoreline is already eroding and it’s only going to get worse.

    “From a sustainable point of view, the course should be designed to avoid those areas of erosion by building it further from the foreshore but that’s what Trump refused to do.”

    He added: “Trump might well have built the best course in the world, I don’t know, but it is far too close to a coastal ledge that is inherently unstable.

    “And it is not going to be helped by protecting bits that are already eroding, that’s the paradox. The erosion will appear elsewhere, along his own dune system and on to his own golf course.”

    Meanwhile, fellow experts are predicting that “catastrophic” sandstorms could cover tees, greens and fairways in heaps of sand.

    According to Andy Wightman, a researcher who specialises in land issues, the one-time dynamic dunes could continue to move north-wards despite efforts to stabilize them.

    The analyst explained: “This is a living dune system which has moved half a kilometre in 40 years. Trump has went in and basically destroyed the most mobile part of it, added lots of Marram grass and sealed it all up.”

    According to Mr Wightman, the course has already experienced “large blowings of sand”, including one last December which left the grass covered in an inch of sand.

    He continued: “In a place like St Andrews you have to clear fairways very rarely because it is such a stable system, but Menie is such a dynamic and moving system, it will have to be done quite a lot.

    “There is also the possibility that you have a catastrophic event which could smother several greens. You’d have to go in there with diggers, reform it and relay turf.

    “It is not a place he should have built a golf course.”

    Similarly, Jonathan Hughes, the Director of Conservation at the Scottish Wildlife Trust, said Trump had “ignored the laws of nature” when he built the course.

    He added: “It wasn’t just the planning laws which were ignored during the building of this golf course, more worryingly for Donald Trump, the laws of nature were ignored too.

    “Until they were tampered with, these rare dunes were highly mobile and will continue to shift, change and move, at least along the eroding coastal fringe.

    “Not only has this destroyed the scientific interest at the site, it has also condemned his ground staff to endless battles with sand blowing in from the beach.

    “We predict that on days when the south-easterly winds are strong, there could be several tonnes of sand dumped on the fairways, greens and tees.”

    A spokesperson for Trump International Golf Links yesterday dismissed the claims as “complete and utter nonsense”, adding: “We built the course with the country’s leading environmental scientists, architects and engineers – nobody knows the land or golf course construction better than we do.”

  14. Patrick,

    You’ve just pasted more evidence of loony scare mongering tree huggers getting involved in something because they don’t like the golf course owner, are they really worried about Mr Trumps staff and all that sand they’ll have to clear?? lol!

    Of course they’re not, they’re attempting to sway their target audience into believing the whole thing is a disaster in the making.

    Please roll out the same “experts” for the Union terrace debate, you know, the same one’s who are going on about flooding and the loss of tree’s and rare habitat, these “experts” are good for a soundbite in any case where the socialists get a bee in their bonnet about a development.

    Fact is the course is built and it has got great reviews in its first week, already the Scottish Open is being talked about for 2014, how many Millions will that bring into the local community??

    Tree huggers should be grateful that their benefit money will be safe with these type of businesses opening up in the area.

    • George,

      Both of your comments above show a considerable lack of understanding of the facts, first personally I am a resident at Menie and see the facts of the destruction most every day, second you talk of money and jobs comi g into the area. If you watch ‘you’ve been trumped’ you will see the ONLYindependant economic review of the project which describes it as ‘hopelessly optimistic’ etc in other words pure BS as for the jobs I was told directly by George Sorial on a tour of the course three weeks or so ago that a total of seventy people were employed on the estate. That will include the self employed caddies, in other words there are no significant jobs. Please open your eyes and look at the facts and not the hype. If you want to talk to me directly please do so, most people know how to get hold of me and I’m sure AV would assist if you require.

  15. Aye, so we’re supposed to be grateful for the opportunity to get a zero-contract job carting around rich tourists golf clubs and spitting in their dinners? Patronizing nonsense. Just like the BS they were spouting about the UTG car-park creating thousands of jobs. Do they think we’re thick? Of course they do.

    There’s plenty great golf courses in Scotland without having to fellate Trump’s ego and ruin our country’s greatest asset – its natural beauty and environment – just because w**kers like Paul and George want to putt around with Yank millionaires like they’re in the same league? Paul and George patronize us, Trump patronizes them, and I for one don’t want any part of their stupid wee game. I want our citizens and our land rights to be respected.

  16. David,

    It isn’t just the jobs on the estate, it’s the jobs created by all the industry that will service the golfers and the estate, that number will be huge. You and your neighbours have made your point but I’d rather look at this course than the ram shackled old farm buildings etc that some of your ilk choose to have on their properties . Progress is good.

    If you really want to moan about something worthwhile that’s destroying our wildlife and habitat please start campaigning about the wind farm monstrosities, Calum claims he’s interested in natural beauty and environment yet puts a beautiful golf course before those stains on our horizons on his objections list.

    I wonder what the articles on here would look like if Mr Trump was the man behind putting these uneconomical wind mills on our gorgeous coastline!

  17. The proposed offshore turbines are for test purposes only, not for commercial energy generation. This means your charge of “uneconomical” is wrong, as that is not the purpose of the development. They should, however, help to make future wind energy developments more economical as experiments are conducted, results examined and decisions reached using these data as a basis. I think I may go and hug a land-based one.

  18. First of all I’m a golfer. I love the game and I have travelled both home and abroad to play numerous courses. This year, the society I belong to, spent a great week in and around Dundee playing some great courses and receiving superb hospitality. Well done to all concerned, who made our trip such an enjoyable one. A credit to Scotland.
    Last night I watched the movie, you’ve been trumped. Oh dear, oh dear. Mr Salmond should be ashamed if himself. After the locally voted representatives have said no to this golf course, the greedy politicians ride rough shod over everyone, so they can get Mr Trump his golf course. The treatment of the local residents was simply appalling. As an ex police officer, I am also ashamed of the local constabulary. The blatant one sided arrest of a man trying to do his job in a polite and respectful manner, simply made me cringe.
    I am not a tree hugger, I’m probably right of centre in political terms. But I will always stand up for fairness and respect for all law abiding people. In this instance, those poor local folk have my deepest sympathy. I for one, will never play the course, even if I could afford the monstrous green fees. How ridiculous to price local people at £150 for a round of golf!!! What planet is Mr Trump on??
    Everyone in Scotland should rise up and support the local people affected by this golf course, if only because of the inhumane treatment of them and their rights in a democratic society.

    As a foot note, this is my first ever comment on an issue like this. The film has incensed so much.

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