May 172013

By Sue Edwards.

On 21 May 2013 the Formartine Area Committee of Aberdeenshire Council will meet at the Kirk Centre in Ellon to discuss various planning matters.

One of these will be to decide whether to give planning consent to a retrospective application put in by Trump International Golf Links Scotland (APP/2012/2342 on the Council’s website).

The application is for “Full Planning Permission for Engineering Operations to Construct Car Park to Serve Golf Course and Proposed Clubhouse (Amended Design) (Retrospective)”.

A retrospective planning application is explained in the two paragraphs below taken from the Scottish Government’s Guide to the Planning System in Scotland.

“If you build something without planning permission, or if you don’t follow the conditions attached to a planning permission, the council can use their enforcement powers. Enforcement is important because it makes sure that everyone stays within planning law and the conditions of their planning permission.

The council will choose what action to take. If something is built without permission, but would have been likely to have been granted permission, the council may ask the person responsible to make a ‘retrospective’ planning application. This will then be decided in the same way as all other planning applications. If the council grants planning permission, there may be conditions attached.”

The reason for this retrospective planning application is that the finished works bear no relation whatsoever to the original planning application (APP/2011/3560) for which consent was granted on 13 December 2011, including the car park layout, lighting and the materials used in the construction.

You may think, fair enough, easy to make a mistake, but this is in fact the SIXTH retrospective planning application TIGLS have had to put in to Aberdeenshire Council.
Each time, the councillors on the Formartine Area Committee have waved the application through, although on this occasion they did agree on a site visit to view the car park layout, a section of the bunds built around a neighbouring property and the lighting, but had to make a further visit (no doubt at council-taxpayer’s expense) as the lighting had been switched off for the first visit.

Would any other builders or developers be allowed to run rings around our planning laws? Why have Aberdeenshire Council not put a stop to his cavalier attitude to our planning system? HOW HAS THIS BEEN ALLOWED TO HAPPEN?

Trump has recently announced his design for the hotel he is planning to build on the Menie Estate. It has been likened to a Victorian asylum, a holiday camp, a row of beach huts, and more. But perhaps we need not worry … perhaps it will look nothing like that. We will just have to wait and see what he chooses to build, regardless of any planning consent he gets.

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