Thursday, November 29, 2007

Golf: Trump's Scottish course plans rejected

Golf: Trump's Scottish course plans rejected

LONDON (AFP) - Plans by US tycoon Donald Trump for a controversial luxury golf resort in Scotland were thrown out Thursday by local councillors, a spokesman saidIn a knife-edge vote, Aberdeenshire Council's infrastructure services committee ruled against the planning application for Trump International Golf Links Scotland.

A key aide to the US businessman said Trump had not yet decided whether to appeal against the decision.

"Obviously we are very disappointed," said George Sorial.

"We do have options elsewhere in the UK and we will sit down now and look at that... We haven't made a formal decision yet."

The new vote -- which was tied seven votes to seven, before being decided by the committee chairman -- overturned a vote by a lower committee earlier this month which approved the project.

The row has echoes of the 1983 cult film "Local Hero", in which an astronomy-obsessed US oil tycoon earmarks a picturesque Scottish fishing village as the site of a new oil and gas development.

Trump has pledged the one-billion-pound (two-billion-dollar, 1.4-billion-euro) development at Balmedie, just north of Aberdeen on the Scottish east coast, would be the "greatest golf course in the world."

The planned 1,400-acre (570-hectare) resort includes two championship golf courses, an eight-storey five-star hotel, a golf academy, nearly 1,000 holiday homes and 500 private houses.

But the project has courted controversy and Trump has battled local salmon fisherman Michael Forbes, who has refused to sell up.

His ramshackle 25-acre (10 hectare) farm lies right in the middle of the proposed second hole and hotel site.

Part of the complex would be built on a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest. Some environmentalists fear the resort could destroy rare plant species and delicate sand dune systems.

Sorial argued that the decision was bad news for the region's economy.


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