Page last updated at 16:53 GMT, Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Inquiry date set for Trump plans

Donald Trump swinging a golf club
Mr Trump wants to build the courses in Aberdeenshire

The public inquiry into Donald Trump's controversial plans for a 1bn golf resort in Aberdeenshire is to start on 10 June.

A special hearing in Aberdeen was told it is likely to last three weeks.

The Trump Organisation and Scottish business leaders have called for a speedy inquiry, followed by a swift final decision.

However, environmental groups have demanded a comprehensive investigation of the issues.

Mr Trump wants to build a golf resort on the Menie Estate in Aberdeenshire.

The planning application was rejected by the local council last year, but was later called in by the Scottish Government.

To restore confidence this public inquiry must be comprehensive and beyond reproach
Patrick Harvie
Scottish Green Party

Last month, Finance Secretary John Swinney said there was to be a public inquiry "given the nature of the application and the considerable public interest".

The application includes two championship golf courses and a five-star hotel on the Menie Estate.

Mr Trump's spokesman, George Sorial, said the organisation welcomed the preliminary hearing as it would give it the opportunity to fully outline the benefits of the proposal.

Environmental groups

He said: "All along we've been very clear and consistent in our message, we've fought very hard on this project and put a lot of objective, comprehensive, information forward and the start of the public inquiry is just another opportunity for us to get our message out there".

Green MSP Patrick Harvie said: "We're pleased to see the inquiry into the Trump plans begin, and remain hopeful that the inquiry team will listen carefully to all sides of the debate about this project".

However, he added that he was disappointed at the Trump Organisation's arrogance and disregard for the democratic planning process.

"To restore confidence this public inquiry must be comprehensive and beyond reproach," he said.

The plans have attracted opposition from a number of groups with RSPB Scotland and the Scottish Wildlife Trust intending to give evidence jointly at the inquiry.

The inquiry will be conducted by James McCulloch, Scotland's most experienced planning inquiry reporter.

The Trump Organisation will be represented by the former lord advocate, Lord Colin Boyd.


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