Established 2005 Registered Charity No. 1110656

Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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Humph Trump

April 02 2010
Hostilities continue in golf course vs homes saga

Hostilities have increased between Aberdeenshire residents and the Trump Organisation (see November issue), as angry scenes erupted at a recent public exhibition of plans for the controversial £1bn golf resort. The proposal includes two golf courses, a hotel and a residential village, and with the possibility of local residents being forced out of their homes to make way for the development, opposition to the plans is strong.

US tycoon, Donald Trump, aired drawings and a detailed masterplan of "the world's greatest golf course and resort" during a two day event in March, to which local residents and the public were invited.

"Clear off!" was the message given loudly and clearly to a protest at the proposals. Upon objecting to the plans, David Milne, whose house may be facing a compulsory purchase order, was told by project director Neil Hobday: "This is not your show, clear off." An incredulous Mr Milne said he had been invited by the company and an angry exchange ensued between the two men. (See footage of clash online.)

Melnie Links residents have know for a while that the tycoon wants the land their homes are build on, but detailed plans were not revealed until 16 February. It was at this point that residents saw that the new plans appear to assume the eviction of four families living on the edge of the Menie estate. The homeowners are concerned that they could face compulsory purchase orders, which would allow the development to proceed.

Martin Ford, the local councilor, who is a leading critic of the Trump resort, declared: "The question now is how long before Mr Trump renews his demands for compulsory purchase of residents' homes. The aerial view of the scheme appears to show a block of holiday flats built on top of one of the properties and a golf course swallowing up another."

He continued: "The homes in question do not belong to Mr Trump and the families living in them have stated clearly and repeatedly that their homes are not for sale.

"The assumption that somehow these homes can be swept away shows a complete disregard for the feelings and rights of those who live in them."

But Sarah Malone, vice-president of Trump International Scotland, insisted: "Our position on compulsory purchase has not changed - it is an option of last resort within the Scottish planning process." She said that the firm was still in talks with the owners and hoped to come to an agreement. Previously, residents have been offered 15 per cent over the market value of their homes if they sell up. However that is little compensation for being forced out of well-loved homes that some residents have lived in for around 30 years.

However, the development has polarized opinion in the North East of Scotland and beyond, with some claiming it to be the best thing for the region since oil was discovered in the North Sea, and others decrying its environmental impact.

The Hollywood actress Tilda Swinton has likened the plans to the Highland Clearances and has signed up to a petition by campaign group Tripping Up Trump, opposing the use of compulsory purchase orders on the plots. To support the homeowners' cause, sign the petition at The masterplan, which includes detailed environmental, landscaping, construction and infracstructure plans, will be considered by Aberdeenshire Council later this year.