Shocking as it may seem, but yes, The Donald is running into all sorts of trouble in Scotland. Shocking because, how on earth could anyone not want luxury homes, lots of gold crests everywhere, a massive hotel and two courses on environmentally sensitive dunesland? What is wrong with these people?
Thanks to reader Larry for this David Lister authored story on a fisherman who is standing in the way of The Donald.
To say that Mr Forbes, 55, is a thorn in Mr Trump’s side is an understatement. His 23 acres of land sit directly between the tycoon’s two proposed 18-hole golf courses and a planned 450-bedroom five-star hotel. A golf academy and driving range would be next door. Just a few hundred feet away would be the majestic sweep of Trump Boulevard, the main access road to the £1 billion resort.It's always all about your Donald! And he took the words right out of my mouth...
“I’m right in the middle, you see,” Mr Forbes said yesterday. “I wasn’t against the golf course from the start, but then they just went mental because I wouldn’t sell. They said they’d make my life a misery and they are.”
Mr Forbes’s land, where a saltire hangs in one corner and a barn emblazoned with the words “No Golf Course” greets visitors as they arrive along the single-track unmade road, has become an embarrassing symbol of defiance to Mr Trump.
“All my family came from around here. My grandfather fished down here and all my uncles as well. I’m the last in line and I’ll see it out.”
Although the billionaire has insisted that he will build around Mr Forbes’s property, his irritation burst into the open this week when he launched an extraordinary attack on his neighbour.
Describing the land as “in total disrepair”, Mr Trump said: “Take a look and see how badly maintained that piece of property is. It’s disgusting. There are rusty tractors, rusty oil cans. I actually asked him, ‘Are you doing this on purpose to try and make me look bad, so I have to pay some more money?’”
The dispute has all the hallmarks of the plot of Local Hero, the 1983 cult film in which an American tycoon seeks to buy a tiny Scottish village, though on this occasion the dispute is about golf, not oil. Mr Trump has submitted plans to turn a 1,400-acre site at Balmedie, 13 miles north of Aberdeen, into “the world’s greatest golf course”, with two championship links courses, a five-star hotel, a golf academy, almost 1,000 holiday homes and about 500 private houses.This AP story also looks at some of the issues facing the project:
The billionaire property developer aims to turn sand dunes at the Menie Estate, 15 miles north of Aberdeen, into a $2 billion golf resort with a pair of 18-hole courses, a luxurious 450-bedroom hotel, 950 vacation homes, 36 golf villas and 500 upscale homes.
Standing in his way are the feathered residents of the beach and rolling dunes -- seven species of endangered rare birds including Skylarks and breeding waders, particularly Lapwings and Redshank.
Local residents in the quiet nearby village of Balmedie are also up in arms at the proposed resort, branding it a "gated community" with too many houses which would spoil the bucolic atmosphere of the area.
Concerned that his investment is about to be pitched into the rough, Trump flew into Scotland this week to set out his plans ahead of a crunch meeting later this month by local council members. He warned he would drop the project if the houses were rejected and claimed the course would improve the local environment.
"Each and every golf course I have built has got awards for environmental protection, and I do not think anyone has got as many awards as we have." Trump told reporters at a press conference on the estate. "I believe environmentally, when we are finished, the course will be better environmentally than before we started.
"It's possible I could lose a great deal of money. It would cost a lot less money if we did not care about the environment."
Local protesters claimed the visit was designed to put the heat on members of Aberdeenshire Council, who are expected to make a decision on Oct. 29. If approved, it would then go to the Scottish government for final approval later in the year.
Local opinion is divided. The planning application lodged at Aberdeenshire Council in June has attracted more than three times as many letters of support as it has of objection -- 327 to 105. There is also a petition objecting to the proposal with 28 signatures.
In July, planning officials recommended approval for the project, which would create more than 800 jobs during peak season. But the plan is so controversial that councilors deferred their decision and are refusing to comment until after a consultation process is completed.