Objectors against an application to build more than 500 homes near Donald Trump’s north-east golf course have branded the plans a “Trojan Horse”.
Trump International Golf Links Ltd wants to build 550 homes alongside community facilities, shops, offices and food and drink facilities near the Aberdeenshire golf course.
The remarks came as councillors and members of the public gathered at Ellon Community Campus last night to take part in a pre-determination hearing into the proposals.
Valerie Banks, one of the objectors to the application and a Menie resident, claimed it was a “Trojan Horse”, adding it would see the “ripping up” of planning conditions in an area that would “never normally” be considered for housing.
Objector Rohan Beyts, who spoke against the plans, said: “Whether you agree or not with the development, there’s no way the application can be seen to be of national importance. It’s a housing scheme.”
However, lawyer Ann Faulds, who represented Trump International at the hearing, said the original application, approved in 2008, was no longer economically viable.
The tycoon was given approval to build 2,750 homes and an eight-storey hotel on the 1,500 acres of land, provided he created the golf course first.
Bosses at the estate say the fresh proposal represents phase two of the overall £750m scheme.
However, plans for the eight-storey hotel have been scrapped, with an initial 50 cottages instead being built to board holidaymakers.
Ms Faulds, who told the hearing that in her 32 years as a lawyer she had never been involved in a project subjected to so much public scrutiny, said: “It’s to the applicant’s credit that it has continued its investment. It’s a choice between this proposal or nothing.”
Speaking to the Evening Express after the hearing, Menie resident David Milne, who objected to the initial golf course development, said: “I really see no major benefit to the region from this.
“They talk heavily about it being an economic benefit to the region, a tourist draw, I’ve never yet found a housing estate that’s a tourist draw so I don’t see this one being one.”
All points raised at the hearing were minuted and will be placed before the Formartine area committee to discuss at its meeting on January 22.
Their view will then be passed onto a meeting of all councillors for their determination at a meeting scheduled for March 7.