Row as Trump denies he ever looked at forcing sales

Campaigners against £750m golf resort are sceptical of billionaire’s claims

A new row has broken out between Donald Trump and opponents of his £750million Aberdeenshire golf resort over the billionaire’s claims that he never wanted to force his north-east neighbours from their homes.

As revealed in the Press and Journal yesterday, Mr Trump has declared that he will not ask for compulsory purchase orders (CPOs) to secure four properties – Mill of Menie, Menie Fishing Station, Hermit Point and Leyton Cottage.

Mr Trump was granted planning permission to add them to his Menie Estate project in 2009, despite not having a deal in place to purchase them.

The homeowners have refused to sell – and claimed that Mr Trump wanted Aberdeenshire Council to use its CPO powers to evict them.

But the American told the Press and Journal that he has “no interest in compulsory purchase” and has never applied for it.

“It remains part of the Scottish planning process but we have not, and will not, request that Aberdeenshire Council use their CPO powers to purchase houses,” he said.

Yesterday, his statement was given a cautious welcome by his opponents, including David Milne, of Hermit Point.

But Mr Milne released a letter addressed to Aberdeenshire Council from the Trump Organisation’s planning agent, Dundas and Wilson, which explicitly mentions the use of CPOs.

He said: “There is an element of relief to be gained from the recent statement from Donald Trump regarding his decision not to use CPOs in relation to his housing development here.

“However, it 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.

“But the letters show quite clearly that a formal request for compulsory purchase orders to be used was made on March 4, 2009, and was the result of some considerable prior discussion.”

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