Keep your hair on! Trump blows into town with attack on wind farms
Saturday 29 April 2006
Scotland's potential as a world leader in wind power was not lost on Donald Trump's legendary comb-over as it flapped violently in what passes for a light breeze in Aberdeen yesterday.
But for the tycoon himself, the prospect of placing wind turbines next to his planned £300m golf complex was too much to bear.
"When I stand on the 18th hole of Trump International Golf Links, Scotland, I want to see the ocean. I do not want to see windmills," he said bluntly.
Mr Trump said he had been in discussions with energy companies who planned an offshore wind farm close to Menie Estate, where his 800-acre course is planned. "The world thinks of Scotland as some of the most beautiful land anywhere," he said. "I do not think Scotland, for the sake of some electricity, wants to ruin the beauty or majesty of your country. When I saw this piece of land, I was overwhelmed by the imposing dunes and rugged Aberdeenshire coastline," he said. "I knew that this was the perfect site for Trump International, Scotland."
The dream to build a new complex in his mother's native country, however, has yet to be granted planning permission. But that did not stop him receiving the red carpet treatment from local dignitaries. The man who fought back from bankruptcy to a £2.7bn fortune was serenaded by a lone piper playing "Highland Laddie" as he stepped from his jet. He was met by council and business officials, all eager to welcome what some claim will be the biggest thing to hit Aberdeen since the discovery of North Sea oil.
As the son of a Scot, the 59-year-old international property developer has claimed that, in looking throughout Europe for an ideal spot, Scotland had always been his first choice. "This is where my mother was born and I should almost kiss the earth," he said. "We are looking to build the greatest golf course in the world, and it is going to be great," he added with typical modesty. It is estimated that the project will bring up to £150m into the country's economy over the next decade, and create up to 400 jobs. "The new development will take us on to a whole new level of tourism-related activity, raising our international profile," gushed Ian Dunlop, VisitScotland's area director.
Mr Trump is expected to meet local business leaders and officials to discuss details of a planning application for the resort which is expected to be submitted next month, even though work is already scheduled to begin in September, with a course expected to open in spring 2008.
A survey by the Aberdeen City and Shire Economic Forum released yesterday claimed his development could have the single biggest positive impact on the local economy since the discovery of oil. "A project of this scale could change the economic landscape of the region," said Jennifer Craw, chief executive of Scottish Enterprise Grampian.
However as the estate is home to several areas of Special Scientific Interest, there are concerns that any development will have to be handled carefully.
Mr Trump added that if there was any suggestion from residents that his plan was not welcome, he would go somewhere else. "I am doing this to a large extent in honour of my mother," he said. "But if people do not want this I will go elsewhere."
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