by Kenneth Hutchison
TRUMP International has officially ruled out the use of Compulsory Purchase Orders at the Menie Estate, in an announcement welcomed by anti-CPO campaigners.
The owners of four properties at Menie had previously been left unsure of their legal position, with Trump International refusing to either confirm or deny the use of compulsory purchase one way or the other, up until now.
Legal and International Development Associate for Trump International Dan Borbet told the Times: “We have consistently said that we have no interest in compulsory purchase and have never applied for it. It remains part of the Scottish planning process but we have not, and will not, request that Aberdeenshire Council use their CPO powers to purchase houses. The only reason CPO was even brought up by our opposition is that they have consistently lost on every other front and this is the only way for them to continue to gain free publicity on the back of the Trump name.
“Through a combination of landscaping and planting, the preliminary work to eliminate the negative visual impact of the poorly maintained and unkempt properties that border our development has completely succeeded. As everyone knows, our great golf course, which is now well under construction, was never affected, either visually or physically, by the out parcels given that they are far from the course. The remedial work in relation to the other components of the development will progress for the foreseeable future and no government intervention will be required.”
Mr Borbet also alleged that TUT’s activities were having an impact on local businesses, citing the recent collapse of building firm Les Taylor as evidence that groups with an anti-development agenda was “Scotland’s international business reputation is being damaged.”
“Businesses regionally and nationally are being affected - the demise of Aberdeenshire firm, Les Taylor, is a prime example,” he said.
Supporters of the Menie families were cautiously welcoming of the news, saying that it was a step in the right direction, but that the pledge was long overdue.
Democratic Independent Councillor Debra Storr told the Times: “This announcement will be a relief to the Menie families. But they should never have been put into this position by Trump asking Aberdeenshire Council to use these powers, a request he later withdrew. It is also unforgivable that, when given the opportunity to make it clear that CPOs should not be used, my Aberdeenshire Council colleagues refused to say.
“Obviously now the plans for the development will need to be redrawn to exclude these parcels of land, and I look forward to the revised Masterplan coming forward showing he now intends to be a good neighbour to the residents. But following the totally unnecessary 5m high bund put next to Hermit Point, that seems to have caused Paul O’Connor to resign rather than continue harassing the families, I can understand the families remaining anxious about their future.”
Householder David Milne, who lives at Hermit Point and had feared the use of a CPO against his property, said: “There is an element of relief to be gained from the recent statement from Donald Trump regarding his decision not to use CPOs in relation to his housing development here at Menie in Aberdeenshire. However the statement has been treated with scepticism by myself and many others, simply because in his statement he claims never to have actually requested CPO’s in the first place. This is untrue.”