Mar 022021

Suzanne Kelly updates her piece Trump Menie:  Wildlife Shot, Carcasses Dumped in Hole with quotes from experts, and shows how this destruction of wildlife fits the pattern of business at the club. 

Trump International Golf Links Scotland at Menie is killing wildlife, and may be ignoring good practice with its horrific open stink pits filled with decaying deer and birds.

NatureScot told Aberdeen Voice it has concerns at Trump’s decision to kill wildlife and leave it rotting in open holes, saying: 

“the disposal of carcasses in a water-logged, open burial pit is not in line with good practice.”

In early February 2021 a concerned member of the public who discovered a stink pit on the Trump Menie Estate alerted Aberdeen Voice.  They sent us photographs of the ‘worrying’ pit filled with deer and birds decaying in oily, stagnant water.

For a resort given a ‘Six Star Diamond award’ for its excellence (Donald J Trump was on the award body’s executive board coincidentally), and given Trump’s infamous ‘sh*thole countries’ remark when he was president, this disgusting, wildlife destruction is beyond the pale.

The practice of having stink pits is, shockingly, not illegal. 

The pit is used to destroy wildlife.  Animals are killed, then the rotting carcasses are left exposed to attract animals that feed on carrion.  Those animals are then destroyed too. 

There are reports of area pet cats that went missing and never returned.  We await comments from Trump on this point.

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: 

“We have been made aware of the matter and no criminality has been established.”

The spokesperson from NatureScot also said:  

“We cannot tell from the photographs provided whether an offence has been committed. However, the disposal of carcasses in a water-logged, open burial pit is not in line with good practice… we would urge anyone who suspects that a wildlife offence has taken place to report their concerns to the police.”

John Robins of Animal Concern commented:

“From the photographs I have seen it is obvious that deer and several species of bird have been deliberately dumped in this pit. I have dealt with cases before where animals have been killed for scraping at the grass on golf courses in order to find worms to eat.

“There is absolutely no good reason to kill animals on a golf course.

“Indeed I’m sure most golfers would appreciate catching a glimpse of a deer or seeing some birds while they are out on the course.

“I hope the Trump organisation give a full explanation for the presence of this mass grave on their land and then make a commitment not to allow any further persecution of wildlife on all their landholdings in Scotland.”

A spokeswoman for the RSPB found nothing amiss; they said: 

“.. what is shown in the photographs does not appear to be illegal, despite how unpleasant it is, so we cannot comment on this.”

Trump’s long-running contempt for nature:

From the outset the Trump organisation did what it wanted to at Menie.  Anyone wishing to ask the Trump organisation why it feels the need to destroy wildlife can contact the club by phone here 01358 743300, or by email here

Should any reader get a response from the Trump organisation, we would like to hear it.

The environmental monitoring was a sham.  When the Scottish Reporters weighed up evidence on Trump’s proposed course, Aberdeen-based Professor Bill Ritchie said the course would not impact the environment if there was monitoring. 

As readers of Aberdeen Voice may know, he led the environment monitoring group called MEMAG.  MEMAG fell apart on Ritchie’s watch and no agency did anything to save it.  Ritchie has never responded to any of Aberdeen Voice’s requests for comment.

Two SSSIs are gone forever.  Further examples of the Trump organisation acting as if laws didn’t apply to it are many. 

Menie’s two Sites of Specific Scientific Interest (SSSIs) had the highest level of legal protection an environment can get.  The sites, the only moving sand dune system in the UK, were destroyed, and virtually nothing was done to stop it.

Planning permission was frequently ignored. 

Trump has ignored/overstepped planning permission several times, and has at least ten retrospective planning approvals.  From our observations, this is not the same consideration Aberdeenshire shows to others who fall foul of planning.

Countryside access is ignored. 

The Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 gives everyone rights of access over land and inland water across Scotland. 
Over the years, Aberdeen Voice reported numerous ways this was ignored at Menie to Aberdeenshire Council’s relevant officers.  Nothing we reported was ever remedied. 

Gates are permanently locked shut, such as the one between Trump’s parking lot and Leyton Farm Road. 

Plants have been put in place which block peoples’ access around this gate and elsewhere.  Anyone with a bicycle, pram or disability is not getting through or around that gate.

Waste management has been irresponsible. 

Mountains of mixed waste existed on the estate.  I took these photos following information from an environmental campaigner in March 2013 . 

Chemical containers, plastics blowing across the land and the scale of the waste was staggering.

Animals are being destroyed; chemicals are used on the greens (per previous AV articles), the SSSIs are destroyed.  None of the promised benefits (thousands of permanent jobs, tourism money) appeared. 

How long can it be before the area is entirely destroyed and housing springs up?

I dedicate this piece to my sources to whom I am grateful.  In particular there are three wonderful dear friends who bravely fought to help the situation at Menie and made a difference, but who can no longer fight.

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Sep 162016

Is Mother Nature Beating Trump Back? A Freedom of Information request response indicates the Marram-haired moghul is no match for Mother Nature. The FOI disclosure also shows that while the club and the Shire have a chummy, joking relationship, they are failing to keep the Master Plan updated. Suzanne Kelly reports.

empty-golf-course2016 correspondence between Aberdeenshire and Trump International Golf Links Scotland indicates all might not be well at the so-called ‘World’s Greatest Golfcourse’.

The Masterplan is not looking particularly masterful.

Scotland’s shifting sand dune system appears to lack the level of deference Aberdeenshire has shown to Trump so far.

A Freedom of Information Request was lodged to disclose:

“… all correspondence – whether electronic or paper based between Aberdeenshire Council and Trump International Golf Links Scotland, Menie Estate, Balmedie AB23 8YE, and / or any parent company thereof concerning: environmental health issues, use of chemicals, waste management including incineration of waste, drainage, ‘bunds’ such as those near Leyton Farm Cottage on Leyton Farm Road, animal populations, use of private security firms, data protection compliance for the year 2016 to date.

“Such correspondence might be to or from: Sarah Malone, Sarah Malone-Bates, Sarah Bates, Donald J Trump, Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr, George Sorial.”

The heavily redacted response (some pages are fully redacted) shows that sand and wind are causing havoc.

*  A 22 February memo refers to a site visit which took place on 19 February. This email memo indicates work was done on the burn and the dunes; an email presumably from the Shire council asks for photographs of the burn prior to works being carried out.

*  on 23 February, someone (presumably a TIGLS employee) wrote back with the requested photographs to say:

“… you will clearly see that the burn is full of sand which has caused the water levels to rise and flood and cause damage to our bridge, etc. You guys personally witnessed the sand/blow movement that was blowing sand into areas of the burn. And that was not even a dry windy day. 

“The pictures of the dunes again you will clearly see we did not clear any existing marrum grass of [sic] the dune itself. All these areas were pure sand caused by the storms which resulted in the sand blowing all over the 4th hole and filling up the burn on the far side. 

“As you witnessed we are doing our best to replant with Marrum to try and save/stabilize the dune and also protect our championship golf course. Also you will see the tunnel/area where it was cutting through from the sea to the golf course.” 

Perhaps attempting to stabilize a sand dune system on the North East coast of Scotland in Winter was not such a good idea.


Suzanne Kelly witnesses course erosion on a previous visit to Trump International.

The Shire subsequently acknowledges that the before and after pictures ‘shows the damage’. There is banter between the parties as to how cold it was on the visit, and how being a marram planter is not one of the visitor’s career choice. The conversational tone is perhaps not the same as the Shire’s planners use when dealing with normal members of the public who have had planning breach issues.

When the planning and environmental issues were dealt with by the Scottish Reporters’ Report, when the golf complex was approved, the idea was to have environmental monitoring that would be robust and thorough. This is not happening.

On 10 March, stating the obvious – i.e. that the dunes are not static – the Shire writes:

“Having reviewed the approved Management Plan this does not cover such events [presumably the winter storms; if so this would seem to be a major oversight] in sufficient detail (Major blow out of the dune ridge). These dune systems are very dynamic in nature [you don’t say] and one of the features it is [sic] particularly noted for is the mobility of the dunes. Therefore it is likely that the same event could reoccur in the future.

“The dunes between the Ythan Estuary and Blackdog have been identified by Aberdeenshire Council as a Local Nature Conservation Site – a regionally important site for biodiversity and geomorphology. One of the key features of the golf course at Menie [is] the nature of this stretch of coastline will change in nature but it is important to manage future events to minimise the disturbance to the dune ridge.”

Is the Shire suggesting that the protection of the club needs to be managed? Who will weigh whether such future ‘management’ will have a negative impact on biodiversity and tne nature of the unique dune system? Certainly not Professor Bill Ritchie. Ritchie was quoted in the Reporters’ Report as supporting the Trump scheme.

He was to have kept the environmental watch group ‘MEMAG’ working – but as its minutes show, MEMAG descended into shambles, with Trump personnel skipping meetings. Ritchie never commented on this situation.

The email continues, noting a rather serious failure; the Management Plan is not being reviewed annually:

“I note that the Management Plan states it is to be reviewed annually which has not been the case as far as I am aware. Therefore I would request that this is reviewed in light of the recent storms and steps identified of how to deal with future storms with particular emphasis on the watercourse and coastal dune ridge. 

“This would enable future storm damage to be dealt with without the same intervention from outside agencies [what agencies? one wonders] and minimise any long term damage to these dunes.”

Is so-called ‘long term damage’ the same as the dunes following the previously-natural moving and shifting pattern? Did the environmental experts do their job correctly in approving the area for a golf course? The case could be made that the environmental experts might have underestimated the power of storms and the dynamic nature of the dunes.

Having stood on part of a collapsed course some years back, and reading this now – it looks like a case could be made that the experts got it badly wrong.

The email continues:

“We would consult with SNH, Environmental Planners and SEPA on the proposals. … In addition I would request that the Habitat Management Plan is also reviewed in relation to Otters to avoid further complaints regarding their habitat.”

It could be inferred that the Habitat Management Plan is possibly not updated either, seeing as the Management Plan is not being updated. Sadly, the emphasis is clearly on avoiding complaints regarding otter habitat rather than on protecting the otters, their habitat, and other wildlife.

Perhaps this failure to properly estimate the dynamic dunes, the wildlife and the storms means that an overly-rosy picture was painted by the golf resort’s protagonists? From here, it looks like development of a wild place at all costs prevailed on the day the course was permitted.

However, it now seems Mother Nature has failed to read the memo on Trump’s vision for the ‘world’s greatest course’ and is taking a bit of direct action herself.

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Jan 282016

cllr-ford-with-michael-forbesWith thanks to Martin Ford.

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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Apr 102015

trump sticks fingers upWith thanks to Martin Ford.

The Trump Organization has now outlined radically different development proposals for the Menie estate.

In the last fortnight, it has submitted a number of further planning applications and proposal of application notices for development at Menie, including for 1900 ‘leisure accommodation units’, 850 homes and a 6-bedroom extension and banqueting suite for the existing 19-bedroom hotel.

Most of the Menie estate is included in the ward represented by Democratic Independent councillor Paul Johnston. Cllr Johnston said:

“The applications Mr Trump is talking about now are new applications. These are not for things included in the outline permission granted in 2008, but are separate and different proposals.”

Aberdeenshire Green councillor Martin Ford explained:

“The outline planning consent of 2008 was granted on the basis that the scale of investment in the proposed 450-bedroom hotel and resort was of ‘national’ significance. And this was the basis used to justify constructing a golf course over the Site of Special Scientific Interest and, for cross-funding purposes, allowing 500 houses on an unallocated greenfield site away from existing settlements.

“Clearly, the promised investment in the large hotel and resort elements has not materialised, nor the jobs.

“Everything that Mr Trump has actually built has been through separately applied for consents for full planning permission. The 2008 consent is not being used to get the permissions, just as a material consideration, establishing principle, in support of the separate subsequent applications. The conditions on the outline consent, for example stipulating the order different elements were to be built, are therefore by-passed.

“So conditions imposed to prevent Mr Trump simply destroying the SSSI and cherry-picking the most profitable elements of his package are not going to apply, because Mr Trump is not implementing the permission to which these conditions are attached.”

Cllr Ford added:

“Under the Councillors’ Code of Conduct, I cannot comment on the merits, or otherwise, of pending or live planning applications.

“Mr Trump, like anyone else, is entitled to make any planning application he wishes, and the Council will have to determine the application(s) made.

“Mr Trump has a track-record of announcing plans which then don’t proceed. He has repeatedly contradicted himself and changed his position regarding Menie. Whether he means what he says this time is anybody’s guess.”

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Mar 242015

donprespicAberdeenshire Green councillor Martin Ford has expressed doubts about the latest claims by developer Donald Trump.

Donald Trump has now suggested that he will build a second golf course in Aberdeenshire and run for President of the United States.

Mr Trump has been talking about running for President for more than thirty years and about building two golf courses and a massive resort at Menie since 2006.

Cllr Martin Ford said:

“Mr Trump has previously stated his intention of building all sorts of things at Menie. Most of what he has announced at various times remains unbuilt. Planning applications have been made and withdrawn, permissions not implemented – or the promised planning application never materialises.

“What Mr Trump says he will do is not a good indication of what he will actually do.

“If Mr Trump takes as long to decide on his golf plans as he has about standing for president, he’ll be getting on for 100 before work starts on his second Menie course, and he’ll be over 100 before he’ll be able to play it.

“In any case, the package being talked about now is a tiny fraction of the development Mr Trump was claiming he would build a few years ago. His latest proposal is for far less than is included in his outline planning consent.

“The protected dunes at Menie – part of a Site of Special Scientific Interest – have been lost. The promised benefits are clearly not going to materialise.

“The absurdly exaggerated claims Mr Trump made in 2007 should never have been believed by the Scottish Government. Now even Mr Trump is confirming he isn’t going to build the resort for which he got planning permission.”

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Feb 182014

Aberdeenshire Green councillor Martin Ford has commented on the announcement that The Trump Organization has withdrawn its planning application to build a second golf course at Menie and has abandoned its scheme to construct a large golf resort at the site.

MartinFordatUTGCllr Ford said,

“This is not a huge surprise, given Mr Trump’s track record elsewhere. For the last few years, the very slow pace of progress on the Menie development, the procrastination and delay, have strongly suggested Mr Trump was seeking an exit strategy – but wanted to be able to blame someone else for his decision not to proceed. His way out has been to blame the Scottish Government.”

Commenting on the suggestion that the proposed wind farm should have been moved or abandoned to appease Mr Trump, Cllr Ford said,

“Mr Trump has been making threats and unreasonable demands from the start. You don’t appease an arrogant, irrational bully. It doesn’t work. They only come back wanting even more.

“Mr Trump’s tendency to change his position and contradict himself, means we cannot be sure that he will not say something quite different next week. But I do think this probably is Mr Trump walking away from continuing work on his development.

“Of course, the Scottish Government should never have stepped in to grant Mr Trump planning permission in the first place. We have lost an important and beautiful natural area that was legally protected as a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Our duty, as I saw it, was to hand this natural heritage over to following generations intact, so they could enjoy it and wonder at and better understand nature.

“Instead, it has become a golf course. The justification for allowing this damage to the environment was the jobs and economic benefit the proposed golf resort would bring.

“While the scale of the economic benefit promised by Mr Trump was clearly ridiculously exaggerated, there is no doubt that, had the resort gone ahead, there would have been some job creation and economic activity as a result. As it is, the north-east has got the worst of all possible worlds. We have lost our irreplaceable, natural, mobile dune system – for negligible economic return.

“Mr Trump should never have been given planning permission.”

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May 132013

By Suzanne Kelly.

North-east novelist John Aberdein, author of Amande’s Bed and Strip the Willow, was in town for a few days, and found time to take a little tour of the Menie Estate with us.  Here are some of his photographs and reactions.

We arrived at the Menie Estate at half twelve on a lovely, warm Spring Sunday.  Walking towards the Munro property, I knew what to expect.  But when you see the bund separating the Munros from the views and from the sun for the first time, it is unsettling.

The bund increases in height, but it is not just the severe, bulldozed ridge of sand that takes the breath away, it is what is planted on top.

Evergreen trees, conifers, are already brown.

“Is that supposed to be some kind of irrigation system?” John asks incredulously.

A pathetic yellow hose lies unattended, snaked up to a dying tree.

John told us that he’d planted hundreds of  trees as a supporter of ‘Trees for Life’, the Findhorn-based organisation aiming to restore the Caledonian Pine Forest.

Here was a complete contrast. Conifers shovelled into a ridge of sand to be a cosmetic screen for a few months, then hauled out and replaced once they had withered, browned and died.

We all talked about this waste and misuse of living things as symptomatic of a deeper sickness.

We stopped to talk to Susan Munro’s partner, son and friend at their place. Aberdeenshire Planning seem very keen to attempt the impossible and sweep this giant mound of sand under the carpet.

It is far higher than ever agreed when permission was granted. It blocks light and the previous spectacular views.  And it delivers a continuous flow of windblown sand, making Susan’s attempts at gardening difficult if not impossible.

Whether the planners are allowed to call this ghastly thing ‘landscaping’ and whether it will be allowed to slip through as the latest of many retrospective planning applications Trump has lodged remains to be seen.  So far, his batting average for getting what he wants is perfect.

We stop in at Hermit’s Point. “Love that flag”, John says of the black and white ‘Tripping up Trump’ standard flying over the property.  Not for the first time, I impose on Moira’s and David’s hospitality. (My drinks bill would be rather large if it were the clubhouse we were stopping at instead, I reflect).  We discuss issues past, present and future.

John is again astounded at the dead and dying trees staggered around the Milne family home.

Then we head to the course, slipping by the permanently-locked giant gate between Leyton Farm Road and the parking lot.

What would John make of the course, I wondered. Before we make our way to the dunes – where John used to go running  in the Sixties as a University harrier – I suggest we stop to read the plaque Trump has had erected at the course entrance.

John – like most people I’ve taken there – is speechless for a moment.

The plaque speaks of the course Trump ‘conceived and built… encompassing the world’s largest dunes’ and how it has been ‘delicately weaved’ into the dunes, producing ‘according to many, the greatest golf course anywhere in the world’.

John comments on the ‘grandiose’ nature of this monument to bad grammar and high-octane self-delusion. We all joke about the smaller sand dunes to be found in the Sahara, Death Valley, China.  Whilst out in Peru – as many may know – the Cerro Blanco dune stands 3,860 feet tall and takes at least 3 hours to climb. John wonders why it is important to claim that these are the world’s largest dunes.

“Why can’t people just enjoy them for what they are?” he rightly asks.

We walk along the tarred road that wends through the course until we can cut to the beach. John comments that, “It’s a beautiful May Sunday but so far I’ve seen only a few golfers way in the distance. I’ve yet to see anyone making a shot.”

We make it down onto the beach, where a breeze from the south is blowing, perhaps the main breeze that makes the dune system move and flow.

There is a Second World War machine-gun pillbox canted over and part-buried.

John heads for a quick swim, then we inspect the putting green that’s close to the sea, really close, the edge just 10 metres or so from the drop-off.

“Another big storm and that’s gone”, John says.

I can’t argue with that. Is it actually nearer the sea than was ever approved? MEMAG, the environmental watchdog, should know, but it’s a struggle to get them to communicate with me. Instead, a smart Trump-uniformed young guy in a buggy drives up, and asks in friendly fashion if we are enjoying ourselves and if we are ‘out walking.’ Not a lot we can really answer to that…

Walking past Michael Forbes’s salmon coble lying full of gear but marooned in the grass, John wonders how on earth the historic access Michael used to have from his own land to the sea can have been taken away.

I explain the police told him he would be charged if he tried to go through the newly-erected gate blocking his way to the shore.

The Aberdeen Outdoor Access officer has mailed me that he would be looking at these issues.

“Sad”, says John as our visit comes to a close.  “Such an air of failure and bleakness. It’s impossible to imagine this place until you’ve been here. Golf courses elsewhere that I know are full of buzz and fun. But any notion of play here seems to have been expunged.” I think this means he probably won’t be booking anytime soon.

So back we go, joking about donating an arm or a leg to buy a round of drinks in the clubhouse. Past that same clubhouse – and out round the big locked gate. We rescue Steve’s springer spaniel from a swamp of black slurry and head back to town.

“Sad” is the word I’ll most remember John Aberdein using.  The sun was shining, the sea was lovely, the people were great and he loved meeting them. But the atmosphere of this sterile, struggling, would-be country club had been boiled down to its simplest description. Sad.

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Mar 212013

By Suzanne Kelly.

An eight-month old application for retrospective permission at Trump Golf Links International at Menie has suddenly been altered with no warning or publicity.

A new document was added earlier this week to the retrospective App 2012/2342, and after eight months of relative inaction, the application which would allow the bunds to stay put is now going to be decided by the relevant councillors:  on Tuesday 26 March.

The very short lead time – less than a week – between the changes to the application made on the Council’s web page means little chance for meaningful consideration – and the people who made representations have not heard anything about the changes or the upcoming meeting. 

These developments may well be against protocol.

How this happened, who was involved, and the legalities of the situation are being questioned by residents and campaigners.  Arguably, the application if changed should be re-submitted, allowing people the chance to respond to the new document, and those who made a representation should have been  informed of the changes and the meeting.

These bunds – which seem to serve no purpose but to make life difficult for those living close to them – should just be taken down as originally promised.

They block light, they block views, and crucially the wind has blown earth off of them into the Munro home, at times leaving an inch of sand and dirt inside the front door, and damaged her cars, with sand and dirt getting into the machinery.  The bunds have arguably devalued the Munro property.

Aberdeenshire Council’s Planning Department, already one of the targets for a requested independent inquiry (15,000+ people have signed a petition so far), had previously given assurances that the bunds (steep, high mounds of earth) built around residents’ homes were temporary.  This assurance was repeated in an email from now-retired Aberdeenshire officer, Gordon Lyon in May 2012.

So far, the Trump Golf Links International Scotland operators have deviated from approved planning permission with the bunds, parking lot, and other issues:  all of these deviations received retrospective planning permission.
See: Menie Estate Report by Suzanne Kelly 

Why the developer is going against the approved plans without any challenge by Aberdeenshire Planning officials, is unclear.

Planning were supposed to visit the site frequently to prevent issues such as deviations arising.

The Government Report on the development recommended the developer would be expected to stay to the approved plan, and that monitoring would take place for planning and environment compliance.

This hardly seems to be the case with the bunds, parking and other deviations, and MEMAG, the environmental monitoring group is not meeting (last posted meeting minutes are for June 2012) and not answering correspondence (no questions answered from a 26 January email to date).

A resident, who discovered the changes on Aberdeenshire’s planning website this week, made the following observations:-

“As well as an amended drawing of the small bund (and change of title so that it no longer mentions Leyton Cottage), there is now a completely new drawing called ‘LANDSCAPE PROPOSALS – AS BUILT EARTH   BUND ADJACENT TO DRIVING RANGE’ which details the ‘big bund’ immediately south of Leyton Cottage and adjacent to the Access Road.

“As far as I know there has been no public notification of this expansion of scope. And there appears to have been no notification to the people who had previously submitted objections to the original content of this application (the author of these comments received no notification himself).

“The ‘Expiry Date for Public Comment’ is still shown as 16/08/2012- and ‘The time period for submitting comment has expired’.

“When the bunds first appeared back in October 2010, the Council’s enforcement officer at the time, Gerry Main, wrote: ‘The mound of sand to the south of Leyton Cottage is of a temporary nature and will be utilised.’

“Furthermore, the APP-2012-2342 web page now shows a ‘Committee Date’ of 26/03/2013 (next Tuesday) when the application will come before the Formartine Area Committee. ( See: )

“As is normal practice, the planners have prepared a report to the Area Committee. It was posted there sometime in the past 24 hours (it wasn’t there yesterday morning). The report recommends that permission is granted, subject to removal of the trees planted on top of the small bund.

“Strangely, the report states in para 6.7 that ‘With reference to comments made through representation that have not been taken into account in the above assessment, this application is solely for the car park area and not for the landscaping for the access way’. This needs clarifying as it is inconsistent with the fact that the ‘big bund’ drawing has been published on the planning page, which the report appears to overlook completely.

“Also the ‘Additional Document 1’ presented to the committee is drawing no 71236/8007 Issue D and includes contour detail of the lower section of the ‘big bund’, whereas the version of this same drawing on the planning page (as of last night) was only at Issue B and had no detail of the big bund.

The writer of these comments feels  that:-

“this looks suspiciously like TIGLS and the planners attempting to sneak through retrospective planning consent for the highly controversial and unauthorised ‘big bund’ hoping that no-one will notice, and without allowing public comment”

The following questions have been asked of Anne Ramsay of Planning:-

1.  Have new documents been added to this application as it appears?  IF SO:

2.  Who agreed to add these documents?

3.  How has this information been conveyed to interested parties and those who sent in representations?

4.  Who made the decision not to throw this amended application out and start with a new application reflecting the changes?

5.  Is Aberdeenshire Planning confident it is proceeding in a legally-acceptable, transparent manner in this instance?

6.  Why, after an 8 month wait, is a newly amended application to be determined with under a week for council members and stakeholders to digest?

7.  In due course, please send a response to the resident’s concerns listed above.

If the answer to Question 1 is negative, then:-

a.  Please explain the appearance of new documents on the application?

b.  Have stakeholders/those making representations been advised the matter will be discussed this Tuesday?

The response received will be printed as soon as can be arranged.

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Mar 152013

Since Donald Trump first applied for planning permission to build ‘the world’s greatest golf course’ on the Menie Estate, regular Aberdeen Voice contributor Suzanne Kelly has followed events closely.

Today Ms Kelly publishes a report on the Menie Estate outlining eleven major areas of concern. In each of those areas, various incidents, documents and decisions are examined, and recommendations made.

The yola web page will also have relevant links to Tripping Up Trump, the documentary You’ve Been Trumped, a petition calling for an inquiry, and more.

Kelly says,

“Putting aside my own personal feelings for the ostentatious Donald Trump, I could not understand why the idea of overturning the SSSI protection afforded to the dune system at Menie to allow construction of a golf course and housing complex – particularly with the housing needed to fund the golf course – got the go-ahead.  Like thousands of others, I wrote to Aberdeenshire Council to voice my objections. 

“Learning that the course would go ahead was disappointing, but seeing how the environment, people and due processes were treated was staggering.  I decided to collect together most of the worrying aspects of events at Menie with the goal of having relevant regulatory bodies, both public and private sector, investigate. What is going on here must not be allowed to set any precedents, and I believe some people and institutions should be called to account.

“It is wonderful that David Milne’s petition for an inquiry has over 14000 signatures to date. Milne and the petitioners are asking the Scottish Parliament, through the Public Petitions Committee, to hold a public inquiry into the way local government, Scottish Ministers and other relevant public bodies conducted themselves when considering the Menie project.

“The Trump camp continually asserts that this was the most scrutinised application in Scotland, but the reality of the situation is that a range of past and present actions have escaped any meaningful scrutiny whatsoever.”

The petition, at is still gathering signatures.

“I believe that some QUANGOs, private entities, and environmental bodies must be called to account for their actions – or inactions – regarding this development. The Government, Aberdeenshire Council Planning, and Grampian Police in particular, feature prominently in my report.”

Kelly’s report will be sent to a range of stakeholders, regulatory bodies and to the national media in the coming days. Advance copies have been sent by request to researchers.

“I think it’s time to take off the rose-coloured glasses. Are we really getting thousands of jobs and great economic and social benefits out of this scheme? How much have we paid for policing the area so far? One cancelled Trump visit to our area alone cost the police around £2000.

“Let’s re-evaluate the optimistic projections on which this castle in the sand is being built. Trump is forever threatening to leave if we build wind farms. Perhaps our institutions should take a similarly-assertive position in forcing the Trump Organisation to stick to approved plans without deviation. I heartily welcome reactions from those institutions and individuals mentioned in my report.”

Kelly has previously submitted a series of articles for publication in Aberdeen Voice highlighting a range of aspects of Trump International’s operations at Menie, from the collapse of a culvert on the course to the marriage of Trump’s Vice-President Sarah Malone to Press & Journal editor, Damian Bates.

“The relationship between the pair just might explain the P&J’s stance on this development, which certainly has not harmed Sarah Malone’s position with Trump. This relationship, and any financial implications arising from it, might be a matter for Aberdeen Journals Ltd, if not the Press Complaints Commission, to investigate.

“I have met such wonderful people from visiting the estate and from attending screenings of You’ve Been Trumped, that I felt it necessary to try to help somehow. I just hope some good may come from my report.”

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Oct 072011

By Bob Smith.

Hark the “Sunday Herald”  did sing
An ti us aa the news did bring
Trump  he wintit oor cops ti be
Jist like the lot in the NYPD

Donald he cam fae oot the sky
An ti oor bobbies wint in bye
Askin they aa did his biddin
Fowks the mannie wisna kiddin!!

Fit dis the silly bugger fear
Molly Forbes in combat gear?
Maybe David Milne wi bows an arras
Dis Susan Munro train “Suicide sparras” ?

The tap bobbies noo they warna convinced
Bein accused o bias they maybe sensed
Bi drappin aathing at Trumpie’s request
Yet twa filmin chiels they did arrest

Aberdeenshire Cooncil think Donald’s a god
An were maybe happy that PC Plod
Wid flee aroon at Trumpie’s biddin
Checkin fit’s happenin at “Michael’s Midden”

Faa’s tellin the truth aboot the windfairm
Did Scottish Government agree nae ti hairm
The bonnie view fae Donald’s mansion
An turbine plans they winna sanction

The fowk faa work in MacLeod Hoose
Are feart that vandals are on the loose
Wull Dod Sorial an aa Trump’s posers
Be shoutin “Donald Faar’s Yer Rozzers?”

©Bob Smith “The Poetry Mannie” 2011
Picture Credit:  © Daniel Wiedemann |