Councillors give Trump clubhouse go-ahead

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Councillors on Aberdeenshire’s Formartine Area Committee have voted to approve plans to allow Donald Trump to build a permanent clubhouse

for his development at the Menie Estate.

However, tempers flared at the meeting, after Cllr Debra Storr, speaking against the plans, said that she “pitied the architect forced into this design by a client who lacks taste.”

Trump representative George Sorial interjected that this was “not appropriate”, before Cllr Anne Robertson said that she objected to the language being used by Cllr Storr and what she described as the “targeting” of applicants. Committee Chair Cllr Loveday agreed that Cllr Storr’s remarks were “near the mark”, but in view of her strong feelings, said he would allow her to proceed.

Councillors heard from solicitor Ann Faulds on behalf of the Trump organisation as well as from local resident David Milne, who urged councillors to reject the plans. Describing some of Mr Milne’s criticisms as “inaccurate”, Ms Faulds acknowledged that there was “an inherent value judgement” when it came to design.

Citing Neil Baxter, Secretary of the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS), she related his praise for the project as being one which was contemporary yet with echoes of the past, and in keeping with golf architecture. Mr Trump, she said, had continued to invest during the recession and was “using his brand to bring success to Aberdeenshire”. She urged the committee to grant permission so as to “maintain momentum on a project of national economic importance.”

After open debate, the application was approved 8-2 with only Cllrs Storr and Johnston against.

As the Trump party left, a verbal altercation took place between Mr Sorial and Cllr Storr, which resulted in Mr Soriel telling Cllr Storr that she’d be “looking for another job in May.”

Visibly shaken, Cllr Storr declined the offer from the chairman of a five minute recess, saying “she was used to abuse from the Trump Organisation.”

For more, pick up this week’s Ellon Times on Thursday.