Experimental feature

Listen to this article

Experimental feature

Donald Trump, the US property magnate, says that he received calls from two national governments offering a home for his planned £1bn ($2.05bn) golf resort within an hour of the scheme being rejected on Friday by councillors in north-east Scotland.

Neil Hobday, director of the Trump project, on Sunday declined to identify the governments that approached Mr Trump, but said his team had subsequently received more than 20 offers of land for the development in the UK and elsewhere.

“They have come from local authorities, developers, landowners – you name it,” he said. “Our systems have almost collapsed with the thousands of e-mails we have received, with people expressing their outrage and disgust at the decision.

“Mr Trump has found this a solace, as he was distraught at the decision. We feel the voice of the people is now being heard.”

Mr Trump has stressed his preference for Scotland because of the powerful ancestral pull it exerts on him – his mother is from the Isle of Lewis.

Earlier, the leader of Aberdeenshire Council said she would call a special meeting of the full council to see whether the decision could be reversed, after being inundated by angry telephone calls and e-mails over the narrow decision.

Local businesses and tourism bodies have strongly supported the scheme to build two championship courses, a 450-room luxury hotel, 950 timeshare properties, 500 homes and 36 golf villas on seaside links 12 miles north of Aberdeen, which was welcomed as an opportunity to reduce the region’s dependence on the oil and gas industry.

But the chair of the council’s strategic resources committee used his casting vote to throw out the scheme, insisting the risk to the local environment and wildlife was too high a price to pay.

The Trump team is still considering its options but seems disinclined to resubmit its application. However, even if the council cannot or does not reverse its decision, Mr Trump can appeal to Scottish ministers, who could order a public inquiry.

Mr Hobday said that the council’s local area committee had voted in favour of granting planning permission the previous week.

“So we think we were still ahead,” he said. “There’s something really wrong about this decision.”

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved.

Follow the topics mentioned in this article

Comments have not been enabled for this article.