Major plans to expand the Trump golf course complex have been hailed as a potential tourist draw for the north-east – but not everyone is behind them.
Moves are under way to invest £150 million at the Trump International Golf Links, Scotland (TIGLS)estate at Menie, near Balmedie, with the addition of 500 houses as well as holiday cottages at what would be known as the Trump Estate.
However, it sparked a war of words between TIGLS vice-president Sarah Malone and one opponent, Councillor Martin Ford, who said it would be a “daily embarrassment” for residents to live at a place bearing Donald Trump’s name.
Ms Malone hit back at Mr Ford, saying he was an “embarrassment to the area”.
The luxury resort would include a residents’ gym, a horse riding centre and space for shops and offices.
Some of the homes are five-bedroom three-floor mansions starting at £1.2m.
Aberdeenshire Council granted outline permission for the project in 2008.
Now the Trump Organisation is to table a second application providing details of the scheme – and building work could begin next year if permission is granted.
If the scheme gets the green light, 2,000 construction workers would build it and a further 268 permanent jobs would be created on site.
A Trump Organisation spokeswoman said details of the application would be published by the council in the coming weeks.
Mr Ford used his casting vote as chairman of Aberdeenshire Council’s planning committee to reject plans for the site in 2007, before the Scottish Government gave the masterplan to create 2,750 homes the go-ahead.
It’s like listening to a Trump speech – contradictory, irrational, full of implausible exaggerations and unlikely predictions – Martin Ford
Mr Ford, a democratic independent and Green representative on Aberdeenshire Council, said: “The Trump Organisation has been announcing and reannouncing plans for a golf resort and housing development at Menie since 2006.
“And for the past 12 years, Donald Trump has also been threatening not to go ahead.
“His demands have included acquiring more land, including homes belonging to local residents.
“Then, development would not be progressed if the Aberdeen Bay windfarm was built. Plans have been announced, changed, withdrawn or just not implemented.
“It’s like listening to a Trump speech – contradictory, irrational, full of implausible exaggerations and unlikely predictions.
“Unsurprisingly, I see Mr Trump is planning to name his scheme, if built, after himself.
“Who in their right mind would want to live at such an address?
“It would be a daily embarrassment.”
He is an embarrassment to the area and has zero interest or understanding of economic development – Sarah Malone
Ms Malone replied: “Mr Ford has done nothing for the north-east of Scotland and should be ashamed of his conduct as an elected member.
“He is an embarrassment to the area and has zero interest or understanding of economic development.
“He is exactly the sort of petty-minded politician that holds this region back.
“His statements are ignorant, pathetic and untrue.”
In response to her comments, Mr Ford said: “The Trump Organisation’s statement speaks for itself.”
Aberdeenshire Council has received the application and officers will spend time processing it before it can be considered, after which it will appear on the local authority’s website.
Once the application details are made public, organisations including Scottish Natural Heritage, Belhevie Community Council and Transport Scotland will be able to have their say – as well as members of the public.
Visit Aberdeenshire has welcomed the project, which it is claimed could lead to £250m being injected into the north-east economy. Its chairman Chris Foy said: “The announcement of these plans complements the significant infrastructure developments ongoing within the region which strengthen Aberdeen’s appeal to visitors from across the UK and from around the world.”
A Scottish Natural Heritage spokesman said: “We will continue to provide appropriate advice to the local planning authority on this development.”
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “A decision on the planning application for this development is a matter for the local planning authority.
“It would not be appropriate for Scottish Ministers to comment further.”