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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 November 2007, 18:06 GMT
Trump's 1bn golf plan rejected
Donald Trump
The US tycoon wants to create a links complex at the Menie Estate
Donald Trump is considering an appeal after his plans to create a 1bn golf resort were rejected by councillors.

The US billionaire, who wants to build a golf complex and housing development at the Menie Estate in Aberdeenshire, said he was surprised by the decision.

The controversial project was given outline planning approval last week, but then went to Aberdeenshire Council's infrastructure committee.

It rejected the plans on the chairman's casting vote after a tied vote.

I think we have been very frank all along - we do have options elsewhere in the UK and we will sit down now and look at that
George Sorial
The Trump Organisation

A spokeswoman for Mr Trump told BBC Scotland: "We are surprised by the decision, it would have been a great development.

"We are considering an appeal, and also considering doing something very spectacular in another location. Sadly, it will not be in Scotland."

Earlier, the Trump Organisation's head of international development, George Sorial, said after more than two-and-a-half hours of debate: "Obviously we are very disappointed.

"It is our position that the council has failed to adequately represent the voice and opinion of the people of Aberdeen and the Shire who are ultimately the losers here."

'Too high'

Mr Sorial said that they were "not sure" if they would appeal against the decision.

"I think we have been very frank all along - we do have options elsewhere in the UK and we will sit down now and look at that," he said.

"We haven't made a formal decision yet."

Opposition to the scheme has included environmental groups, such as RSPB Scotland, and some local residents.

Protesters have claimed that the resort would have a major impact on wildlife and destroy a beautiful part of Scotland.

The Menie Estate
Opponents have fears about the environmental impact of the plans

An RSPB spokesperson said: "The destruction of part of Aberdeenshire's beautiful unspoilt coastline has been recognised as too high a price to pay for this development.

"We hope that Scotland will continue to offer and promote the best golf courses in the world, but not at this expense."

One of the most high-profile opponents to the resort was Michael Forbes, who said he would not sell his 23 acres near Balmedie to Mr Trump.

His wife Sheila said she was "surprised" but happy with the decision.

Business backing

"I thought it would go through, but I was keeping my fingers crossed it wouldn't," she said. "There were a lot of folk against it. We are staying put. We have said that all along."

Mr Trump had revealed he had the backing of leading business and tourism figures.

The chairman of Aberdeen City and Shire Economic Forum (Acsef), Patrick Machray, said: "The future of our economy is based on sustaining a vibrant business base by building on oil and gas and growing our other key sectors of food and drink, life sciences and tourism.

"The Trump development provides us with a golden opportunity to boost leisure tourism and raise our profile around the world.

"The decision is therefore a blow to the local economic forum's vision for the long-term prosperity of our region."

'Momentary setback'

Geoff Runcie, the chief executive of Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce, said: "The prize of a world-class golf development and related resort appears to have been completely missed by a group of experienced councillors who, it might have reasonably been expected, would have been able to grasp this economic prize.

"The chamber sincerely hopes that, following this momentary setback, the Trump Organisation will feel inclined to appeal the decision with a view to delivering their world-class development."

The Trump International Links scheme includes two championship golf courses and 1,500 homes.

The US tycoon claimed he needed to build the houses to pay for the development, which he wants to construct over the next five years at the 1,400 acre site near Balmedie.

Councillors on the Formartine area committee backed the plans last week by seven votes to four.

The development then went to the more powerful infrastructure services committee.

Campaigners welcome the councillors' decision

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