£750m golf resort is on course, insists Trump

The US property tycoon Donald Trump played down protests over his planned golf resort on a visit to the site today, telling supporters the ribbon would be cut on the new course in 18 months.

The businessman flew into Scotland yesterday on a three-day trip to inspect the development on the Aberdeenshire coast.

Accompanied by his son Donald Jr, Mr Trump hosted a reception for local business people at the Menie estate where he told guests he had expected many more protesters at Aberdeen Airport.

Instead, he said, just "two people and a dog" had turned up to demonstrate against the £750 million luxury resort being built in the dunes.

Referring to media reports of protest action, he said: "I figured I'd have thousands of people. There were two people and a dog, and the dog was more vicious than the people.

"They were nice people, they waved to me. I said, 'Are they on my side?'."

Trump International plans to create the "greatest golf course in the world" as part of a development with a hotel, 950 holiday apartments and 500 residential homes.

The project was approved by Scottish Government ministers despite local objections and a detailed plan was submitted to Aberdeenshire Council in February.

Councillors have refused to rule out using compulsory purchase orders to remove residents from the land.

Yesterday, opponents said they had taken ownership of a one-acre stretch of land belonging to local man and objector Michael Forbes, hoping to block the project in its current form.