Menie Masterplan Must Be Revised To Protect Residents

Res­id­ents at Menie who have spent years under threat of Com­puls­ory Pur­chase Orders (CPOs) for their homes have breathed a sigh of relief with news of a state­ment from Don­ald Trump that his organ­isa­tion will not ask Aber­deen­shire Coun­cil to use their powers to pur­chase the land.

Cllr Ford and M. Forbes

How­ever, since the news broke last week, sig­ni­fic­ant evid­ence in the form of a let­ter to plan­ning chiefs at the coun­cil shows that Trump Inter­na­tional Golf Links Scot­land (TIGLS) did indeed ask for CPOs to be administered.

Menie res­id­ent David Milne issued a press release which also con­tained the let­ter in ques­tion. He said:

“There is an ele­ment of relief to be gained from the recent state­ment from Don­ald Trump regard­ing his decision not to use Com­puls­ory Pur­chase Orders in rela­tion to his hous­ing devel­op­ment here at Menie. How­ever, the state­ment has been treated with scep­ti­cism by myself and many oth­ers simply because in his state­ment he claims never to have actu­ally reques­ted CPOs in the first place, this is untrue.

“The let­ters show quite clearly that a formal request for CPOs to be used was made on March 4, 2009 and was the res­ult of some con­sid­er­able prior dis­cus­sion. There­fore until such time a formal let­ter with­draw­ing the request is made pub­lic, this applic­a­tion can be rein­stated at any time.”

Plan­ning per­mis­sion for the £750m cham­pi­on­ship golf course, 450 room hotel, 950 hol­i­day apart­ments and 500 res­id­en­tial homes was gran­ted in May 2009.

In a fur­ther twist to the ongo­ing saga, local coun­cil­lor Debra Storr has writ­ten to Aber­deen­shire Coun­cil to point out that as there is no pro­spect of Trump acquir­ing the prop­er­ties of the Menie fam­il­ies, the Mas­ter­plan, which includes these prop­er­ties, is no longer valid.

Accord­ing to Coun­cil­lor Storr:

“The Mas­ter­plan now needs to be redone to reflect the real­ity that the Trump Organ­isa­tion is not going to get con­trol of the land owned by the Menie fam­il­ies. The Trump Organ­isa­tion has made it clear that it intends to work round these prop­er­ties and Aber­deen­shire Coun­cil needs to see the detail of that.

“I have there­fore asked the coun­cil whether they have told the Trump Organ­isa­tion that a revised mas­ter­plan is required and when we may expect to see the revised plans.

“The Menie fam­il­ies are con­cerned that they will con­tinue to suf­fer har­ass­ment by the Trump Organ­isa­tion and there­fore it is to everyone’s bene­fit if a revised Mas­ter­plan is sub­mit­ted to show how the fam­il­ies will be able to peace­fully enjoy their prop­er­ties within the resort development.”

Ms Storr added:

“We have already seen the build­ing of ‘tem­por­ary’ bunds at Her­mit Point and Leyton Cot­tage. There­fore I do worry that Aberdeenshire’s cosy rela­tion­ship with the developer will mean that the legit­im­ate interests of the fam­il­ies will not be protected.”

Coun­cil­lor Storr has writ­ten to both Iain Gab­riel, dir­ector of Infra­struc­ture Ser­vices, and Christine Gore, dir­ector of Cor­por­ate Ser­vices at Aber­deen­shire Coun­cil ask­ing for con­firm­a­tion that the local author­ity has advised the Trump Organ­isa­tion regard­ing the mas­ter­plan situ­ation and when the revised mas­ter­plan can be expected.

An Aber­deen­shire Coun­cil spokes­man said:

“We are cur­rently con­sid­er­ing whether the approved mas­ter­plan for this devel­op­ment requires to be revisited.”

Com­ment­ing on the issue, Trump Inter­na­tional exec­ut­ive vice pres­id­ent Sarah Malone gave the view:

“Debra Storr appears to be con­fused and is yet again attempt­ing to cre­ate prob­lems where there are none.”

How­ever, fel­low coun­cil­lor Mar­tin Ford backed Ms Storr’s call for new plans:

“The bid for com­puls­ory pur­chase was just one of the unreas­on­able demands Mr Trump has made in con­nec­tion with his pro­posed resort devel­op­ment. We will never know whether Aber­deen­shire Coun­cil or the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment would have done Mr Trump’s bid­ding this time too.”

“One con­sequence of Mr Trump abandon­ing his demands for his neigh­bours homes is that the approved mas­ter­plan for the devel­op­ment is no longer imple­ment­able. It includes the land the res­id­ents’ homes are built on.

“This raised the ques­tion of whether the plan­ning con­di­tion requir­ing a mas­ter­plan can now reas­on­ably be said to have been fulfilled.

“In his state­ment, Mr Trump claims that he has ‘no interest in com­puls­ory pur­chase’ and ‘never applied for it’. That is down­right untrue.

“Mr Trump’s law­yers wrote to Aber­deen­shire Coun­cil form­ally request­ing the coun­cil to exer­cise its power of com­puls­ory pur­chase to acquire eight plots of land on behalf of TIGLS. The eight prop­er­ties were lis­ted and included were the homes of four families.

“Aber­deen­shire Coun­cil could and should have made it clear long ago that com­puls­ory pur­chase was not an option it would sup­port. To that extent, the coun­cil is as guilty as Mr Trump of caus­ing the affected res­id­ents unne­ces­sary worry and stress over an exten­ded period.

“The council’s shame­ful fail­ure to stand up to Mr Trump’s bul­ly­ing has caused last­ing dam­age to its reputation.”

Coun­cil­lor Ford also paid trib­ute to the Trip­ping Up Trump cam­paign, adding:

“I want to pay trib­ute to the well-organised and effect­ive cam­paign run in sup­port of the Menie residents.”

“The thou­sands of people who act­ively helped the Trip­ping Up Trump cam­paign were defend­ing import­ant prin­ciples, and last month’s state­ment from Mr Trump is effect­ively an admis­sion that the cam­paign has worked. Thank you to every­one who took part.”

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