The Scottish government may overrule a county council committee’s rejection of Donald Trump’s plan to build a £1 billion-pound (US$2 billion) golf resort on the North Sea coast, describing it as ‘a development requiring national involvement’.
The government’s decision to ‘call in’ the application came after Donald Trump’s plans were rejected by the infrastructure committee of Aberdeenshire Council on 29th November. There are also reports that Trump said he would decide in the next 30 days whether to buy land in Northern Ireland to build an alternative course.
“The Scottish Government quite rightly feels this application raises issues of such importance that they require scrutiny at a national level,” Anne Robertson, leader of Aberdeenshire Council, says on the council’s website. “What is important in all this is securing the economic future of the north-east of Scotland.”
“This is in reaction to the unprecedented support our Aberdeenshire development has received,‘‘ Trump said in a statement. “I‘m very honoured by this response.”
Since the vote to reject his plan, Trump has received more than 50 offers of land for his course. Would-be sites have included one suggested by the Irish government and others in Europe and South Africa.
Next week’s meeting of Aberdeenshire Council, on Wednesday 12th December, will give councillors the chance to voice their opinions on the Trump proposals and articulate the full council’s position in relation to the implications of the committee vote after local people and businesses protested the decision.
However, if the committee had passed the proposal, the government would in any case have had to approve the development as none of the land in the area has been zoned for housing.
Asked about the timescale for a Scottish Government decision on Donald Trump’s golf resort planning application, the First Minister, Alex Salmond, said three options were being looked at which would all have different timescales:
1. A Public Inquiry
2. A Hearing
The First Minister said each option would mean a government Reporter being appointed and allow for people’s views to be considered. Asked to give a timescale for each option, the First Minister said he couldn‘t give exact timings.
Asked if it would be possible for there to be a decision within the 30 days that Trump had asked for, the First Minister said that there could not possibly be a decision within that period.
The First Minister also stressed that John Swinney, Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth, will make the decision and that he, Alex Salmond, will have no involvement in the process because he is the constituency MSP.
Asked if the Scottish Government has a view on the plans, the First Minister said the Scottish Government has a legal duty to consider these matters impartially and there are long established procedures for doing so, such as not involving ministers with a constituency interest in the decision making process.