Ten years after New York developer Donald J. Trump first announced his intention to build a golf resort in Scotland (on 25 January 2006), the North-east has gained little but lost much.
Said Cllr Paul Johnston,
“Essentially, the north-east has ended up with the worst of both worlds. We’ve lost the amazing, natural, dune system – but the promised economic benefits used to justify that destruction are nowhere to be seen.”
Cllr Martin Ford said,
“Mr Trump’s grandiose and extravagant promises of jobs, money and enhanced reputation for the region – parroted by First Minister Alex Salmond’s Scottish Government – have failed to materialise.
“At Menie, little of the proposed resort has been built. None of the 950 timeshares. A 19-bedroom hotel in an existing country house instead of a 450-bedroom new build. One golf course, not two. A much smaller clubhouse than originally proposed. Under 100 jobs, not 6000. Around £30 million spent instead of the £1 billion investment pledged.
“Meanwhile, the unique dune system at Menie, a protected Site of Special Scientific Interest, has been sacrificed – the justification being the economic benefits Mr Trump and the Scottish Government said would come from the resort that hasn’t been built.
“Mr Trump’s neighbours on the Menie estate have had their lives disrupted by bullying and intimidation for most of the last decade.
“Latterly, Mr Trump’s truly revolting behaviour as a presidential hopeful has seen him shunned by many organisations not wanting to be tainted by his obnoxious views. His association with the North-east clearly does nothing for our reputation in the world. He is an embarrassment, not an asset.”
Cllr Paul Johnston said:
“Mr Trump and his golf course have been a divisive issue in the North-east. Had Mr Trump been a more reasonable individual, a golf course could have been built at Menie without touching the Site of Special Scientific Interest or adversely affecting his neighbours.
“We need to learn lessons from this unfortunate episode. Next time an overly ambitious speculator comes round making ridiculous promises, I hope attitudes will be different.”
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And the citizens of Aberdeen have lost an important recreational resource (many more people are interested in walking, jogging, and sunbathing than play golf.
Quote: ‘Had Mr Trump been a more reasonable individual, a golf course could have been built at Menie without touching the Site of Special Scientific Interest or adversely affecting his neighbours.’
How reasonable were the majority of Aberdeenshire Councillors who pushed to allow planning permission?
3 local landfill sites and an open cast quarry which have done more to ruin and “vandalise” the area than a golf course ever will. No Press comment on them. The councillors should be so proud approving those!
Would you mind explaining how many of these landfill sites and quarries were created on sites of special scientific interest, on which all development was forbidden by the highest possible level of legal protection preventing the lawful approval by local councils, how many were rejected by local councils only to be “called in” by the Scottish Government prior to the developer receiving written notification of refusal, thereby rendering the “calling in” process unlawful, how many included false guarantees of billion dollar investments and thousands of jobs, such promises being made by both the developer and Scottish Government, how many led to the deliberate vandalism and harassment of neighbouring residents, how many saw the arrest and detention of investigative journalists at the apparent behest of the developer……
I could go on but would be happy if you could possibly address these small points for the purpose of justifying your analogy.
Please exciuse my clumsy language Alan. To clarify, the “calling in” would have been rendered unlawful had the developer received written notification of rejection prior to the Scottish Government decision to “call it in”.
It is my opinion, and the opinion of most neutral and informed observers, that the Scottish Government, following a meeting between Alex Salmond and Donald Trump on the Sunday following the inevitable rejection, knew they had to move quickly as the only way they could intervene legally, on behalf of Mr Trump, would be to announce the “calling in” prior to Mr Trump receiving such written notification, in other words immediately.
So one further question: Do you know any other potential developers who have been granted a personal audience with a First Minister, followed by the overt and vocal support of the First Minister and Scottish Government?