Plans to build more than 500 homes at the site of Donald Trump’s north-east golf course have received a mixed response from councillors.
Planning officers at Aberdeenshire Council have recommended the development be approved by delegated grant and members of the Formartine area committee met yesterday to discuss the proposal ahead of next month’s full council meeting.
If approved, the Menie site would be developed in eight phases. Full planning permission could be given to phases 1A and 1B at full council.
This would include 82 homes plus a 34-bedroom hotel, six retail units, gym and fitness centre and a town hall alongside parking and open space.
The planners’ report, which members of the committee discussed yesterday, said the economic impact of the homes had “considerable merit”.
Councillors raised a number of questions and concerns relating to access roads and transport planning policy, the protection of trees and protected species, and access to local services as well as connectivity for residents.
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Councillor Richard Thomson said: “There are still some holding objections from consultees like our own roads department and Sepa.
“I would like our officers to speak to Transport Scotland about a grade-separated junction at the site which was a big condition of the original planning application but hasn’t been asked for here.
“I do look forward to the extra information that is due to come before full council.”
Councillor Isobel Davidson, chairwoman of the committee, said: “At the moment the feeling I am getting from the committee is no one is confident in making a firm decision at this stage, with more information due to come to the full council.”
A motion by councillor Paul Johnston to recommend the council reject the application did not receive a seconder to put it to the vote.
Councillor Davidson added: “I think it’s important we summarise the range of views discussed for full council, noting a number of concerns and questions which we hope can be addressed more fully at a later date.”
Aberdeenshire Council received 2,918 letters of objection, while a petition with 18,722 signatures was also submitted.
Sarah Malone, executive vice-president at Trump International, said: “This is a decision for full council.
“I think the debate reflects the fact a number of councillors don’t understand what has been put forward.
“There was a lot of discussion regarding transport and roads and these were argument that were had, fought and won many years ago.
“We went over a lot old ground. I’m sure full council will treat it differently and we are confident of a positive outcome next month.”