Councillors have been unable to reach a view on controversial proposals to build more than 500 homes at the site of Donald Trump’s north-east golf course.
The application was due to be considered earlier this year by the full Aberdeenshire Council but this was delayed after new information was submitted by Trump International Golf Links.
The Formartine area committee was asked yesterday to give its view on the development before full council makes a final decision, which is expected on Thursday September 26.
The group was unable to reach a consensus but has asked full council to consider three separate matters related to the application.
The first of these is the potential impact of the site on the community of Balmedie due to the lack of a grade-separated junction north of the village.
Other matters the committee would like to be considered are the lack of clarity in terms of education provision and the application’s departure from the Aberdeenshire Local Development Plan.
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Speaking after the meeting, committee chairwoman Isobel Davidson said: “It was clear that the committee would not be able to reach a consensus on whether or not to support the application but we were agreed that there were some key matters we want the full council to consider when the application is determined.
“The matters we have identified should, we hope, aid and inform the discussion that will be held by the full council.”
Planning officers say the economic benefits of the development have “considerable merit”.
Earlier in the meeting, Councillor Paul Johnston proposed that the committee should not accept the planning permission in principle for the development, arguing that it would be premature to do so before matters relating to phasing, education and the provision of a grade-separated junction were resolved.
He added that planning permission should adhere to the Local Development Plan.
However, Mr Johnston’s motion was not seconded and therefore not taken forward, prompting the councillor to record his dissent.
The US firm wants to build 550 homes near Balmedie, 500 of which would be residential and the other 50 leisure and resort units.
More than 2,900 objections were submitted to the local authority against the plans.
Sarah Malone, executive vice-president at Trump International, said: “The planning department’s strong recommendation for approval is good news and we look forward to the full committee meeting later this month.
“Formartine area committee focused on council policy and process rather than the substance of the application and the major economic benefits it brings.”
The development was part of the wider approved blueprint when the golf course was given consent back in 2008.
But since then, the Trump Organisation has been accused of breaking its promises by not building a second course and hotel, and instead moving forward a latter stage of its masterplan.
The developer denied it has reneged on its agreement, saying it has merely changed the phasing due to the “significant” economic unknowns.