Donald Trump will get the first chance to buy a key plot of land, needed to complete his golf course at Menie, after a committee of Aberdeenshire councillors gave him ‘special purchaser’ status by a margin believed to be seven votes to three.
The Council is reported to have paid only £35 for the land, which has recently been used as a car park, and now expects to sell the plot to Mr. Trump for at least £10,000.
But the Council’s decision has been much criticised by opponents of the Trump International Golf Links development and it may be referred to the Audit Commission for Scotland for review.
In much the same way that objectors to a third runway at London’s Heathrow Airport have tried to buy up key parcels of land, Mr. Trump’s opponents are said to be willing to pay ‘five figures’ to block the Menie project. Indeed at least six other bids for the tiny plot are thought to have been made.
A spokesperson for Aberdeenshire Council said: “The council is to enter into negotiations with Trump International Golf Links Scotland over the sale. It was decided that the Trump Organisation be regarded as a ‘special purchaser’ due to the local economic benefits expected to be generated by the golf resort development that has been granted outline permission at Menie.
“The Trump Organisation currently has outline planning permission for developing the land as part of the wider golf resort development. Officers will now begin negotiations with the Trump Organisation concerning the sale of the land. As a result, none of the other bids will be progressed.”
Sarah Malone, the executive vice-president of Trump International Scotland, welcomed the committee’s decision saying, “We are grateful to Aberdeenshire Council for awarding us status of special purchaser, which clearly recognises the scale, impact and importance of this project for the north east of Scotland. This was an appropriate step taken by the council to prevent an unnecessary bidding war over a tiny piece of land that lies within the heart of the golf development.”
Trump International Golf Links www.trumpgolfscotland.com