Menie Masterplan Must Be Revised To Protect Residents

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Feb 182011

By Bennachie Blether.

Residents at Menie who have spent years under threat of Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPOs) for their homes have breathed a sigh of relief with news of a statement from Donald Trump that his organisation will not ask Aberdeenshire Council to use their powers to purchase the land.

However, since the news broke last week, significant evidence in the form of a letter to planning chiefs at the council shows that Trump International Golf Links Scotland (TIGLS) did indeed ask for CPOs to be administered.

Menie resident David Milne issued a press release which also contained the letter in question. He said:

“There is an element of relief to be gained from the recent statement from Donald Trump regarding his decision not to use Compulsory Purchase Orders in relation to his housing development here at Menie. However, the statement has been treated with scepticism by myself and many others simply because in his statement he claims never to have actually requested CPOs in the first place, this is untrue.

“The letters show quite clearly that a formal request for CPOs to be used was made on March 4, 2009 and was the result of some considerable prior discussion. Therefore until such time a formal letter withdrawing the request is made public, this application can be reinstated at any time.”

Planning permission for the £750m championship golf course, 450 room hotel, 950 holiday apartments and 500 residential homes was granted in May 2009.

In a further twist to the ongoing saga, local councillor Debra Storr has written to Aberdeenshire Council to point out that as there is no prospect of Trump acquiring the properties of the Menie families, the Masterplan, which includes these properties, is no longer valid.

According to Councillor Storr:

“The Masterplan now needs to be redone to reflect the reality that the Trump Organisation is not going to get control of the land owned by the Menie families. The Trump Organisation has made it clear that it intends to work round these properties and Aberdeenshire Council needs to see the detail of that.

“I have therefore asked the council whether they have told the Trump Organisation that a revised masterplan is required and when we may expect to see the revised plans.

the council is as guilty as Mr Trump of causing the affected residents unnecessary worry and stress over an extended period

“The Menie families are concerned that they will continue to suffer harassment by the Trump Organisation and therefore it is to everyone’s benefit if a revised Masterplan is submitted to show how the families will be able to peacefully enjoy their properties within the resort development.”

Ms Storr added:

“We have already seen the building of ‘temporary’ bunds at Hermit Point and Leyton Cottage. Therefore I do worry that Aberdeenshire’s cosy relationship with the developer will mean that the legitimate interests of the families will not be protected.”

Councillor Storr has written to both Iain Gabriel, director of Infrastructure Services, and Christine Gore, director of Corporate Services at Aberdeenshire Council asking for confirmation that the local authority has advised the Trump Organisation regarding the masterplan situation and when the revised masterplan can be expected.

An Aberdeenshire Council spokesman said:

“We are currently considering whether the approved masterplan for this development requires to be revisited.”

Commenting on the issue, Trump International executive vice president Sarah Malone gave the view:

“Debra Storr appears to be confused and is yet again attempting to create problems where there are none.”

However, fellow councillor Martin Ford backed Ms Storr’s call for new plans:

“The bid for compulsory purchase was just one of the unreasonable demands Mr Trump has made in connection with his proposed resort development. We will never know whether Aberdeenshire Council or the Scottish Government would have done Mr Trump’s bidding this time too.”

“One consequence of Mr Trump abandoning his demands for his neighbours homes is that the approved masterplan for the development is no longer implementable. It includes the land the residents’ homes are built on.

“This raised the question of whether the planning condition requiring a masterplan can now reasonably be said to have been fulfilled.

“In his statement, Mr Trump claims that he has ‘no interest in compulsory purchase’ and ‘never applied for it’. That is downright untrue.

“Mr Trump’s lawyers wrote to Aberdeenshire Council formally requesting the council to exercise its power of compulsory purchase to acquire eight plots of land on behalf of TIGLS. The eight properties were listed and included were the homes of four families.

“Aberdeenshire Council could and should have made it clear long ago that compulsory purchase was not an option it would support. To that extent, the council is as guilty as Mr Trump of causing the affected residents unnecessary worry and stress over an extended period.

“The council’s shameful failure to stand up to Mr Trump’s bullying has caused lasting damage to its reputation.”

Councillor Ford also paid tribute to the Tripping Up Trump campaign, adding:

“I want to pay tribute to the well-organised and effective campaign run in support of the Menie residents.”

“The thousands of people who actively helped the Tripping Up Trump campaign were defending important principles, and last month’s statement from Mr Trump is effectively an admission that the campaign has worked. Thank you to everyone who took part.”

Jan 072011

By Helen Thomas.

Molly Forbes is an 84 year old pensioner. She is also a remarkable woman. Why? Because she has the courage to stand up to the multi billionaire Donald Trump over his attempts to evict her, along with several others, from her home to build a golf complex.

Mrs Forbes has been threatened with a compulsory purchase order that would force her from her home so that Mr Trump could knock it down to build the luxury resort. He has tried to buy her out several times but she refuses to sell.

Mr Trump’s plans have been approved by Aberdeenshire Council despite the fact that they include land he does not own, so Mrs Forbes launched a legal action asking for a judicial review of the decision.

Unfortunately she was refused legal aid so was forced to drop the case. Mr Trump is now pursuing her for legal costs.

That’s right, a multi billionaire sees fit to pursue a pensioner for costs incurred as the result of her fight against threat of eviction. And to add to it, he also wants to claim money for the inconvenience the case has brought him.

Molly’s case is up in Edinburgh court on Tuesday 11th January. It will be listed as Forbes v Aberdeenshire Council and Trump Int.

Molly has been worried sick over it, wondering if she can pay her electric bill, or her car insurance or replace her washing machine. Mr Trump does not have these worries. He is not only trying to force her from her home but effectively, make her destitute as well.

However, whatever the outcome, Molly isn’t giving up. She is taking her case to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, claiming her rights were denied by the refusal to give her legal aid.

All I can say is good luck Molly, wish there were more people like you prepared to stand up for what you believe in.

For more information on Molly Forbes and the Tripping Up Trump campaign please visit

I realise that most people will not be able to make it there but I wanted to give you all the information should you want to go and show Molly your support.

I hope there will be a few of us who can make it along on Jan 11th, but I know the rest of us will be cheering her on in spirit

Helen x

Oct 222010

The first run of a beautiful new calendar depicting the unique and stunning scenery of the Menie/Foveran coastal area has proved so popular that it has already sold out – within 3 weeks of production. Apart from raising funds for the Tripping Up Trump campaign, the pictures bear witness to the beauty and wildlife of the dunes and draw attention to the on-going destruction of a Site of Special Scientific Interest. A second run of the calendars is now being negotiated and will be available for sale in the coming weeks.

Indeed, despite a marked lack of coverage in most of the local media, this has been a very busy period for the Tripping Up Trump campaign as Rohan Beyts tells Aberdeen Voice;

‘”What with producing our newspaper, preparing the calendar, mounting an exhibition and organising the March of Menie it has been a period of intense activity for all of us.

While it seemed that the media could not get enough of Trump – threatening householders, running for president, claiming that his resort had been a ‘done deal’ and posing with his new doctorate – we decided to focus on the real issues – the loss of a wonderful national asset and the effects on the local community.

So the idea of putting on an event was mooted, a walk possibly in the dunes before winter set in, a show of support for the threatened householders and an exhibition close by to get across what the local press has not been saying.  There were a few obstacles and time moved on. Was it going to be too much?

On 16th September came the announcement of that Degree.

We decided to do the walk – The March of Menie – from Balmedie to The Bunker in support of the householders.

Then there was the exhibition. It was a lot to organise in a mere 3 weeks but TUT is more than 2 people and a dog so we did. Could we get a suitable venue for the exhibition? Would the calendar be ready?  Could we get the newspaper out?  Yes, Yes and Yes again.

Despite information from the police to the contrary there was good route all the way to The Bunker.

  • The March was publicised on 21st September
  • A venue for the exhibition obtained on 3rd October
  • 2 Slide shows were put together
  • Bob Smith agreed that we could display his wonderful verses
  • Displays were made on the Environment, People and Economics of the development.
  • Sheila Forbes and Susan Munro offered to provide light refreshments.
  • We were up and running (or marching).

On Saturday 9th October the March set off (a short delay was filled by some excellent drumming) with dogs, grannies, mothers, fathers, grandads ,sons, daughters, farmers, fishermen, workers, students, greens, socialists, lib dems, tories, graduates, soldiers; we had them all walking the dunes to the Bunker led by an excellent young piper and representatives of the families.

The Police and the Evening Express estimated 250 on the march so draw your own conclusions.

The calendars and David Milne’s book ‘Blinded by Bling??’ [Still available via Waterstones or Amazon] sold well at the exhibition. The calendar all but sold out in 10 days from the first production of 250 with no publicity other than word of mouth.

If you would like to pre-order from the next reprint e-mail me at and I will let you know when they will be available through the website. They cost £5.00 each plus P&P.”

Aberdeen Voice understands there have been a number of enthusiastic comments from those – including some professional photographers – who have already bought the A3-sized calendar;

‘Amazing, the pictures are fantastic.’
‘Wow, it shows just what we are in danger of losing’
‘Great value, that’s my Christmas presents sorted.’
‘Love the pictures and all the information on the back.’
Aberdeen Voice wishes TUT all the best of luck with the calendar, and are grateful for permission to reproduce those beautiful images.

Oct 082010

With thanks to Keava McMillan, Jim Waugh and Nicki Machiavelli.

On Wednesday, 29th September, an exciting and thought-provoking event described as “Part call to action, part show, part club night”, was held in The Tunnels, Aberdeen.

Organised by Keava McMillan and Jim Waugh, under the banner of “The Bird And The Ballerina Promotions”, Suffragette City aimed to bring together various left-wing political groups, local action groups, musicians and the public to share ideas, to inform and create understanding, and perhaps spark some inspiration.

In an age where political apathy is rife, and direct action seldom means more than clicking ‘like’ on Facebook, this promised to be a unique and unusual event.

The suitably underground venue of the Tunnels could not have been better for this attempt at injecting some excitement back into politics. A stage for guest speakers, numerous tables stacked high with pamphlets & an area outside the main room where points could be argued & issues debated.

Over the course of the evening a rapid succession of speakers and performance artists was introduced to the stage by compere Nicki Machiavelli.

This was a great opportunity to hear all manner of less established political views, with speakers from CND, Tripping Up Trump, Friends of UTG, Aberdeen Voice, The Green Party, Scottish Palestinian Solidarity, Cuban and Venezuelan Solidarity, Aberdeen Anarchists, the Scottish Socialist Party, The Communist Party and Unite Against Fascism. Speeches were limited to approximately five minutes on stage so there was never a time when any of them became tiresome.

Other slightly more light-hearted, but no less thought provoking “acts” included a short stand up set from local up-and-coming comedian Lewis Muirhead, political performance poetry from Aberdeen’s own radical poet Rapunzel Wizard (who’s pithy yet humorous verse targeted various social evils including local matters such as the Trump golf course, and Ian Wood’s Civic Square proposals), and a folk set from local SSP Candidate Ewan Robertson – joined by his father on the bagpipes.

If the aim of Suffragette City was to put politics in a more accessible and interesting light, then it was certainly a success

For many, the highlight of the evening was the Edinburgh based ‘Zorras’ – two witty, intelligent female performers who mixed poetry, singing and a megaphone to great effect. Their spellbinding performance brought the first part of the evening to a very satisfying close.

Rapunzel Wizard’s band ‘The Dog’s Botox’ delivered a lively and politically charged set  before the event was rounded off  as a club night until closing time to allow those in attendance the chance to mingle, to further discuss, or to just relax.

The mixture of political speakers with musical acts and poetry worked quite well as it blurred the boundaries between entertainment and politics. It was a fun and inspiring blend.

If the aim of Suffragette City was to put politics in a more accessible and interesting light, then it was certainly a success. It’s not often you come back from a club or gig feeling that you want to change the world.

“Viva la revolution!”

Oct 012010

Thanks to Martin Glegg and Press Association Scotland.

Former university principal Dr David Kennedy has handed back the honorary degree awarded to him by Robert Gordon University in protest against the decision to award one to Donald Trump.

Robert Gordon University (RGU) in Aberdeen will present the US tycoon with the honour  at the Faculty of Health and Social Care, Garthdee, at 10am on Friday 8th October, in recognition of his entrepreneurship. It also wants to acknowledge the long-term future his company is planning in the north-east, where the businessman is building a controversial £750 million luxury golf course. But Dr David Kennedy, who was principal of RGU from 1987 to 1997, said the decision to honour Mr Trump was “an insult to decent people

Dr Kennedy, a member of action group Tripping up Trump, said:
“I was shocked and appalled at the decision of the Robert Gordon University to honour Donald Trump.

“Mr Trump is simply not a suitable person to be given an honorary degree and he should not be held up as an example of how to conduct business.

“Mr Trump’s behaviour in north-east Scotland has been deplorable from the first, particularly in how he has treated his neighbours.”

He added: “The university needs to realise how strongly people feel about this issue. I can think of no better way to express my anger at the decision to honour Mr Trump than to return my own honorary doctorate to the university. I would not want to hold the award after Mr Trump has received his.”

He has sent Prof Harper a letter explaining his decision.

an event has been arranged which will bring together groups and individuals in opposition to both the Menie development and the proposed City Square.

As well as a championship golf course, the luxury development on the Menie Estate includes a 450-bedroom hotel, 950 holiday apartments and 500 residential homes. Some residents object to the plans and are refusing to sell their land to the billionaire. Many opponents of the development have bought a stake in a one-acre stretch of land at the heart of the resort site in a bid to disrupt it.

Dr Kennedy hopes his gesture will show his support for the families living on the Menie Estate.  Mr Milne said:

“I want to thank Dr Kennedy for his principled stand. His support and the support of thousands of others has helped us carry on through all the stress and worry of the last three years.”

Mr Trump will be presented with the honorary award of Doctor of Business Administration at RGU on October 8 by its chancellor Sir Ian Wood CBE. Announcing the news last week, Prof Harper said:

“Given that business and entrepreneurship lie at the heart of much of the university’s academic offering, it is only fitting to award Mr Trump with an honorary degree.

“He is recognised as one of the world’s top businessmen and our students, the entrepreneurs of tomorrow, can learn much from his business acumen, drive and focus.”

To coincide with Donald Trump’s award – which will take place at the Faculty of Health and Social Care, Garthdee, at 10am on Friday 8th October – an event has been arranged which will bring together groups and individuals in opposition to both the Menie development and the proposed City Square.

As Martin Glegg of Tripping Up Trump states:

“Trump and Wood are uniting and so should we”

The March of Menie will take place at 12pm on Saturday 9th of October. All in opposition to the Menie development are invited to march alongside the families whose daily lives are being ruined by the aggressive intimidation from the Trump Organisation. Those taking part will march from the Balmedie visitors centre to The BunkerSee map

For more info click here …. see also ‘Ti Anither Louse’