Plans for a £1bn golf resort at the Menie Estate in Aberdeenshire have been backed by local councillors, reports BBC TV News.
The controversial resort project, put together by US tycoon Donald Trump, will still have to go to Aberdeenshire Council’s infrastructure committee.
The Trump International Links scheme includes two championship golf courses, a hotel, 950 holiday homes and 36 golf villas.
However, campaigners say the site is an environmentally sensitive area and plan to seek a public inquiry.
The Formartine Area Committee meeting granted outline planning approval for the development on Tuesday evening by seven votes to four.
The US billionaire has said he wants to build “the world’s greatest” golf attraction over the next five years at the 1,400 acre site near Balmedie.
Welcoming the decision, Mr Trump told BBC Scotland, “It’s very important that I do something that’s environmentally sensitive and that really is very expensive and for us to do the job the way everybody wants it, that seemed to be the minimal programme that we needed in order to pay for all of this.
“I‘ll be spending billions of dollars in a very great country and I look forward to spending the money and I hope that I get the approval to do so. We‘ll be creating jobs, we‘ll be creating tourism and I think everybody knows how important that is for the area. I think that the people that I have there are very, very capable and very cognisant of the all the issues but I‘ll be there a lot.”
Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce chief executive Geoff Runcie said he was very pleased the application had received support. He said, “The scale of the economic prize resulting from this investment fits well within the region’s economic ambitions.
“Of significant importance is the employment upside, bringing a wide range of new jobs to Aberdeenshire not only in the construction phase but in the longer-term support of the tourism and leisure elements of the development.”
However, environmentalists and some local residents claim the resort will destroy the landscape. RSPB Scotland, which objected to the plan, condemned the move.
A spokesman said, “Whilst we hope that Scotland continues to offer and promote the best golf courses in the world, areas such as this are a vital part of our environment that should be protected for the benefit of wildlife and people for generations to come. We hope the infrastructure committee will not support this decision.”
The plan may also be examined by Scottish ministers before it gets a final go-ahead.
Trump Golf Scotland www.trumpgolfscotland.com
BBC TV News http://news.bbc.co.uk/player/nol/newsid_7100000/newsid_7104800/7104835.stm?bw=bb&mp=rm&asb=1&news=1