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Bid to block Trump buy-out fails

2 October 09 08:34 GMT

Councillors have rejected a call to rule out using compulsory purchase orders to move people from where Donald Trump plans his £1bn golf resort.

The homes and land of four people are being targeted as part of the US tycoon's plans for Menie.

Aberdeenshire Council decided it was inappropriate to reject the use of CPOs completely without a full report.

Angry Menie homeowner David Milne said the council decision was "a disgrace" and was based on "cowardice".

However, Mr Trump welcomed the decision.

Mr Milne, who bought his home 17 years ago, told the meeting: "I am here to ask you to support the motion that this council will not use its powers of compulsory purchase in support of a commercial leisure development, to throw Aberdeenshire residents out of their homes and off their land.

"I don't know how many of you have even tried to imagine what it is like not knowing if your home will be your own for much longer, not knowing if the next birthday or Christmas will be the last in your own house.

"I ask you now to stand up for your own personal conscience, stand up for ethics, stand up for morals and stand up for Aberdeenshire."

However the vote was overwhelmingly against the move.

Mr Milne later said: "I am extremely disappointed, tending towards furious, at the cowardice and apparent collusion of this council.

"The council today have disgraced themselves by refusing to take action on an element of conscience, morals and ethics."

He said that he and fellow homeowners would continue to have the threat of CPOs hanging over them.

However, some councillors did say they would never vote to use CPOs to move the four residents from their homes - a stance which was praised by Mr Milne.

The Trump Organisation had asked that a full report on compulsory purchase orders not be submitted to this meeting of the council to give more time for negotiations with the four owners who have refused to sell their properties.

'Band of renegades'

Mr Trump said: "We are extremely pleased with today's vote and would like to thank Aberdeenshire Council for their decision.

"This allows us to continue negotiations with our neighbours and I have already instructed my son Don and the rest of my team to continue discussions and attempt to reach fair and amicable solutions with each landowner.

"The decision shows that a small band of renegades who are only thinking of themselves cannot block a significant investment that the overwhelming majority of people have supported."

The council meeting took place the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre (AECC) on Thursday.

Scores of protestors turned up, with signs such as "Stop the Trump clearances".

The motion on the issue was proposed by Councillor Martin Ford, who chaired the council committee that originally rejected the proposal for the development.

That proposal was later called in by the Scottish government, and approved.

Mr Ford said of the vote: "This is a failure of leadership by the council big time and it's very disappointing indeed.

"The position the council has taken is that it probably, almost certainly, won't use compulsory purchase, but it won't say so.

"They should have had the cloud lifted from them today, once again the council has let the residents of Aberdeenshire down."

Mr Trump has accused the councillor of putting his own political agenda above the interests of local people, but Mr Ford has denied he has been carrying out a personal vendetta.

The Tripping Up Trump group handed in a petition against the plans which it said contained 15,000 names.

Mr Trump's son, Donald Trump Jnr, earlier said the owners had been offered a 15% premium on market value.

He said they had also been given the chance to buy new homes at cost price, and the lifetime use of facilities at the new resort.

Mr Trump has said he hopes to create the "world's greatest" golf resort at Menie.

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