The Aberdeen Press & Journal reports that Donald Trump is facing a bidding war to secure the half-acre pocket of council-owned land he needs to create “the world’s greatest golf course” in the north-east.
The newspaper says that it understands that five bids have been submitted to try to stall Mr Trump’s plans for two golf courses, a 450-bedroom hotel, 950 holiday homes and 500 houses.
A leaked Aberdeenshire Council memo, seen by the Press and Journal, confirms that “a number of bids” have been received for the site, in addition to that made by the Trump Organisation and goes on to tell councillors that all the bids are being assessed to “determine their wider economic and environmental merits in comparison to the larger development envisaged by the Trump Organisation”.
The site is adjacent to Leyton Cottage, one of the four homes now included in Mr. Trump’s plans. It was bought in the 1970s for people visiting Menie Links to use as a car park before Balmedie Country Park opened.
The move to beat Mr Trump to the council’s land is the latest stunt in a campaign that has “frustrated” local business leaders and tourism bosses. Geoff Runcie, who headed Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce when the Trump plans were lodged, said recently the business community was becoming weary at the “anti-development lobby from a small minority”.
Sarah Malone, executive vice-president of Trump International Golf Links, said rival bids were “inevitable”. She added: “We have been notified, but this is a matter for Aberdeenshire Council and of no concern to us.”
A council spokesman said: “Aberdeenshire Council owns a piece of land at Balmedie which was bought in 1975 for use as a car park, although its use was superseded once the car park at the country park was established.
“Outline planning permission was granted for this land as part of the Trump International Golf Links masterplan in September 2009. The council has received a number of applications to purchase the site and these are being considered. A report will be submitted for consideration by the Formartine area committee.”
Trump International Golf Links www.trumpgolfscotland.com