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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 December 2007, 14:00 GMT
Trump course attack 'not helpful'
Donald Trump swinging a golf club
Mr Trump has considered basing the resort in Northern Ireland
First Minister Alex Salmond has said that attacking the council which rejected Donald Trump's 1bn golf resort plan was not helpful.

The plans for Aberdeenshire's Menie Estate were thrown out by the local authority on the casting vote of a committee chairman.

The Scottish Government will now decide whether it gets the go-ahead.

Mr Salmond said he did not think the council's procedures intended to cause a decision which was criticised.

His comments during question time at Holyrood came after it emerged that Martin Ford, the chairman of Aberdeenshire Council's infrastructure committee, whose vote led to the rejection, may face a motion of no confidence.

I don't think it's helpful to attack an individual local authority
Alex Salmond
Scottish First Minister

The council's rejection decision led to an angry reaction from many business and tourism leaders.

Labour Aberdeen Central MSP Lewis Macdonald told parliament that the situation had arisen because Aberdeenshire planning chiefs had delegated powers of authority over "vital" decisions in their own area.

He asked the first minister: "Does he agree, therefore, that the best way to protect the local decision making process in future would be for that council to urgently review its rules so that never again will a project of regional and national importance be rejected on the say so of barely 10% of its elected members."

Mr Salmond said he had noted concerns that many Aberdeenshire councillors had not been given the opportunity to vote on Mr Trump's plans, while pointing out that the issue of planning was currently under review.

'Dreadful message'

"I don't think it's helpful to attack an individual local authority," added the first minister, in whose Gordon constituency the Trump resort plans have fallen.

"I don't think there was any intent in terms of its procedures to arrive at a situation which has caused widespread criticism."

Mr Ford has said that, if he were to go, it would send out a "dreadful message" about the planning process.

Northern Ireland's First Minister Ian Paisley met Mr Trump in New York on Tuesday. Mr Trump is now considering buying land in County Antrim to develop the golf resort after his plans in Aberdeenshire were rejected.

The Aberdeenshire proposals were criticised by some environmental groups and local campaigners but also received backing from some business figures.

SEE ALSO
Trump opponent in confidence vote
05 Dec 07 |  North East/N Isles
Trump decision being 'undermined'
05 Dec 07 |  North East/N Isles
Ministers to decide Trump plans
04 Dec 07 |  North East/N Isles
Trump considering NI golf complex
04 Dec 07 |  Northern Ireland
Trump golf project hits the rough
04 Dec 07 |  North East/N Isles
Trump not appealing golf refusal
03 Dec 07 |  North East/N Isles
Trump's 1bn resort plan 'dead'
02 Dec 07 |  North East/N Isles

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