Page last updated at 17:45 GMT, Thursday, 3 April 2008 18:45 UK

Trump 'boasted' on resort success

Menie Estate
The future of the Menie sand dunes is being considered by ministers

Donald Trump said he would secure his 1bn Aberdeenshire golf resort plans because of who he is and his Scottish roots, it has emerged.

The comments came in the latest edition of Vanity Fair magazine from an interview carried out last November, before the plans hit objections.

Scots First Minister Alex Salmond insisted no deal had been done to pass the Trump course plans.

Mr Trump pointed out that the interview was given over five months ago.

He said his comments were made prior to ministers being called in.

Ministers decided to have the final say on the application after it was narrowly rejected by an Aberdeenshire Council committee.

This interview took place in November just as our proposals had been approved by the Formartine area committee and long before the Scottish Government stepped in
Donald Trump

Mr Trump said of the resort application in the Vanity Fair article: "I'm going to get it."

But Mr Salmond said Mr Trump's application would go through the "proper process" of a public local inquiry before a final decision was made.

The tycoon's plans for the Menie Estate involved two championship golf courses, 950 holiday homes, 36 golf villas and 500 private homes.

Environmental groups and local campaigners criticised the project, while many leading business figures backed it.

After it was rejected by local councillors, the Trump Organisation said it would not appeal the decision, with speculation emerging that it could be switched to Northern Ireland.

However, it was then called in by the Scottish Government and a planning inquiry into the controversial application will take place in June.

'Given the nod'

In the article, Mr Trump said: "If Jack Nicklaus tried to do this he'd have zero chance, but they like what I've done, and because I am who I am and my mother is Scottish, between you and me... I'm going to get it."

Aberdeenshire councillor Martin Ford, who lost his post as chairman of the council committee which threw out the application last year, said: "It will grate with people that he is so confident he will get what he wants for who he is."

Scottish Labour public services spokesman Andy Kerr said one "had to wonder" what assurances Mr Trump received which led him to conclude that the deal was in the bag, adding: "Either Mr Trump jumped the gun or someone gave him the nod."

Mr Trump, responding to the row which had followed the publication of the article, told BBC Scotland: "This interview took place in November just as our proposals had been approved by the Formartine area committee and long before the Scottish Government stepped in.

"I was obviously confident, having been advised that this first step in the planning process would be the most difficult - and it passed so easily."

He added: "I am taking the public inquiry process very seriously. The Reporter said that the identity and the personality of the developer must not be a consideration.

"I am not out to win a popularity contest or become an elected official - I only want to build a great development.

"I fell in love with the Menie site and I am going to make it far better than it has ever been. I want to build something spectacular that works in harmony with the natural environment."

Meanwhile, Mr Salmond continued his visit to the US by stating few linked Scotland with America as strongly as golf.

Speaking from Washington, he added: "We're starting to reach out to that same American golfing public as we start the build up to the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles - a great year for Scottish sport."

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