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Record number of objections against Trump housing plans

The President's company wants to build 550 luxury homes near his Balmedie course.

By STV News

Published 18 Oct 2018.

A record number of objections have been lodged against plans for luxury housing near Donald Trump's Aberdeenshire golf course.

The president's company applied to Aberdeenshire Council for permission to build 550 luxury homes near his resort in Balmedie last month.

But more than 3000 people have formally objected to the plans, with another 19,000 signing an online petition being considered by the council.

The total is understood to be a new record for objections to a planning application in Aberdeenshire.

The development, which would be called The Trump Estate, would include a gym, an equestrian centre, and space for shops and offices.

The proposed homes in Balmedie in Aberdeenshire, would cost an average of £1.32m - compared to the average local house price of £204,873.

Objections were raised about the lack of access, parking issues and suggestions the development would not benefit "the local economy".

The 19,000-strong petition was set up by campaign group TrippingUpTrump and a spokesperson said: "These homes will be unaffordable to anyone except the rich, featuring villas planned to sell for over £1m.

"No plans for affordable houses, which were promised as part of the planning permission, have been made public.

"They do not appear in the proposed development brochure.

"This location is entirely inappropriate for a housing scheme; it's far from amenities and is opposed by people living nearby.

"Planning permission for the golf resort was issued on the basis that the economic benefit outweighed the environmental harm.

"Trump cannot be trusted to deliver on his promises for this resort, and this new development will further damage the beautiful North Sea coastline whilst lining his own pockets.

"What's more, we're signing Scotland away to a man who deals in lies and hate, which will damage the country's reputation.

"Now Mr Trump has the reputation of an international pariah, and his proposed housing scheme is evidently unpopular - hardly reasons to extend special treatment to his planning application this time."

The homes have been described in planning documents as "the most luxurious in the area" - where the average house costs £204,873, according to the Scottish government.

According to the plans, the homes will have between two and five bedrooms, and be a mix of cottages, townhouses and mansions.

The properties would be individually named, with proposed titles such as Balmoral, Ythan, Forvie and Leighton.

The plans were submitted by Trump International Golf Links Ltd in July and validated by the council in mid-September.

Comments were accepted by the council until last week, and of the 85 public responses accepted, 82 were objections.

Campaign group 38 Degrees also submitted 3026 official letters of objection, which will have to be processed by the council too.

The authority is also considering the 19,000 signature petition posted on the 38 Degrees site by local campaign group Tripping up Trump, to decide whether it is valid.

The housing plans are due to go before the council planning committee next month.

Martin Ford, green party councillor for East Garioch, who has spoken out against the Trump Golf Course Resort, said he believe the objection total sets a record for Aberdeenshire.

He said residents have had a change of heart since he submitted his hotel plans in 2007, which attracted 2,000 letters of support.

Sarah Malone, vice-president at Trump International Golf Links Aberdeen, said: "Politically motivated and vexatious objections are not relevant within Scottish planning law.

"This project has tremendous support regionally, nationally and internationally."

Ms Malone added that the petition set up by TrippingUpTrump was "fundamentally flawed".