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Trump given clearance over land

19 January 10 17:30 GMT

Aberdeenshire councillors have agreed to enter into negotiations with the Trump Organisation over the sale of land wanted for its £1bn golf resort.

Members of the Formartine area committee agreed to make the company a "special purchaser" due to the economic benefits the resort could bring.

There were alternative proposals to buy the land but they will not now be taken any further.

The US tycoon has said the half-acre site is one of five he needs at Menie.

Committee members Debra Storr and Paul Johnston voted against giving the Trump Organisation "special purchaser" status.

They accused the council of offering a "sweet deal" and said it should have used an open process for the sale of the land to get the maximum return for Aberdeenshire taxpayers.

'Appropriate step'

Committee chairman John Loveday denied there had been any deal and said the council was doing nothing unusual and it was not the first time such powers had been used.

Sarah Malone, executive vice president of Trump International Scotland, said: "We are grateful to Aberdeenshire Council for awarding us status of special purchaser, which clearly recognises the scale, impact and importance of this project for the north east of Scotland.

"It was inevitable that others would express an interest in buying the council land as a result of the Trump development.

"This was an appropriate step taken by the council to prevent an unnecessary bidding war over a tiny piece of land that lies within the heart of the golf development."

The Trump Organisation said it was on track to submit a masterplan for its scheme in the near future.

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