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Last Updated: Friday, 7 March 2008, 22:12 GMT
Scots planning 'too bureaucratic'
Deli counter at Aviemore Highland Resort. Picture courtesy of Aviemore Highland Resort
The plan includes an expansion of the resort's shopping complex
A businessman behind an 80m development project has said the planning system in Scotland threatens to drive business away.

Donald Macdonald, chief executive of Macdonald Hotels, told BBC Scotland the process was "too bureaucratic".

Approval of the company's expansion of the Aviemore Highland Resort has been the subject of clashes between MSPs and the Scottish Government.

Mr Macdonald said it had taken 20 years to get his expansion off the ground.

Criticising the country's planning system, Mr Macdonald said he knew of nowhere else in the world that would not welcome the development proposed by US tycoon Donald Trump for a site at Balmedie, Aberdeenshire.

A public inquiry is to be held into his 1bn golf resort application.

Mr Macdonald told BBC Radio Scotland's Newsdrive programme: "How many countries in the world have got the potential of a billion pound development like Donald Trump is proposing to do in an area of Scotland where all the indigenous industries are in decline."

The plans for Aviemore Highland Resort include two supermarkets and about 160 houses.

Cairngorm National Park Authority gave it the go-ahead in December.

Angry scenes

This followed ministerial intervention to speed up the planning process, sparking accusations of political interference.

The Scottish Government has insisted it was right to intervene in the planning wrangle involving Mr Macdonald, an SNP donor.

In his interview with BBC Scotland, Mr Macdonald said he did not support anyone political party and had made the donation in the interests of Scotland's health and education services.

However, the plans have been the cause of angry scenes in the Scottish Parliament.

On Wednesday, an MSP stormed out of a Holyrood committee after accusing its convener of playing party politics.

Liberal Democrat Mike Rumbles was stopped in his tracks while trying to quiz environment chiefs about a controversial planning application.

The environment committee was taking evidence on an inquiry into flooding.

But Mr Rumbles' attempts to ask questions about the Aviemore resort application were blocked by its SNP convener, Roseanna Cunningham.



SEE ALSO
Planning intervention 'was right'
28 Feb 08 |  Scotland
Planning concern move 'in order'
27 Jan 08 |  Scotland
Park resort master plan approved
14 Dec 07 |  Highlands and Islands
Aviemore's future vision outlined
27 Sep 05 |  Scotland
Aviemore revamp plans unveiled
18 Dec 02 |  Scotland

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