9 July 2012
As US tycoon Donald Trump prepares to tee-off at the official opening of his £13million environmentally-damaging golf course in Aberdeenshire, the Scottish Greens are inviting concerned MSPs from other parties to show their true colours.
Patrick Harvie, Green MSP for Glasgow, has lodged a motion asking the parliament to back the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s call for top golfers to boycott some of the holes on the course.
The motion also points out that the billionaire developer, who described local people’s homes as “slums“, has failed to deliver the 7,000 jobs he had predicted and that he has breached planning conditions.
Mr Harvie said:
“The Trump saga has been a monumental embarrassment for Scotland and its governments. The way successive First Ministers, council leaders and industry sucked up to this bully boy billionaire was utterly shameful.
“Perhaps because the development took place away from the central belt little attention was paid to the impact on the community. The intimidation of people living there has been scandalous and the lack of interest from the ministers who sanctioned the project speaks volumes.
“Housing, jobs and a predicted economic boom were the reasons given by the SNP Government when they overruled the council. And what has actually materialised? A Portakabin and an alien landscape where once there was natural beauty.
“We’ve sent the message that no matter how dodgy you are, flash some cash and Scotland will roll over. As we look forward to a historic decision on the future of Scotland, perhaps a real sign of how progressive we can be would be for the Government to tell this guy precisely where he can stick his nine iron.”
More details on the planning condition breaches and damage to the environment.
We asked Aberdeenshire Council if the Trump development has been carried out in accordance with planning conditions.
“We are aware of breaches of planning conditions – one with regard to the design of the temporary clubhouse, another regarding the design and layout of its associated car park, as well as the erection of a sign at the entrance to the development which was not as approved. Amendments to the temporary clubhouse have now been fully assessed following the submission of a retrospective planning application and these works now have planning permission. A new planning application is expected in the near future for the amended car park design and we are in discussions with the developer about the sign erected.”
We asked Scottish Natural Heritage for their latest position.
“It was always accepted by Trump Golf Links Scotland as well as Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) that the championship golf course would be damaging to the dunes at Foveran Links SSSI. This applies both to their geomorphology and the habitats they support, which together are the reasons the site was designated as an SSSI. Stabilisation and topographic modifications were required to create the course and some habitats would be lost or moved. We are planning to carry out an assessment on the SSSI later this year.”
We asked SEPA (Scottish Environment Protection Agency) what impact has the development had on biodiversity and what drainage arrangements are in place on site and are these deemed adequate?
“Developments of this scale inevitably alter biodiversity as they involve the alteration of natural or semi-natural habitats. With respect to sewage drainage arrangements on site the development is essentially ‘greenfield’ with no public sewerage provision. SEPA has insisted that all foul sewage from the new development, should be directed to the public foul sewerage provisions at Balmedie. Through the development phase the applicant has made a request through the planning system to operate a temporary sewerage system pending connection to the public sewer network. Proposals for this have still to be finalised by the developer consequently an authorisation for this arrangement has yet to be issued by SEPA.
We asked Scottish Water whether the Trump organisation had approached the utility about a connection to the public system.
“Customer Connections have not received an application for this development yet. They indicated it would be likely that a Development Impact Assessment would be needed to evaluate the impact and what would be required to service the development.”