Donald Trump has claimed he was “betrayed and lied to” by the Scottish Government after being given assurances by two first ministers that his £750 million golf resort in Aberdeenshire would not be threatened by plans for an offshore wind farm.
The American tycoon, speaking in advance of his appearance at Scottish Parliament tomorrow, told The Scotsman he would have walked away from investing in the Menie estate development in Aberdeenshire had he not been guaranteed that a wind farm would never be built on the doorstep of the “best golf course in the world”.
He claimed former Labour first minister Jack McConnell and First Minister Alex Salmond had both given him “assurances” that proposals to build an 11-turbine wind farm within one and a half miles of his championship golf course would never get the green light.
Mr Trump said: “I feel totally betrayed and lied to by the Scottish Government. I was really misled and mistreated by the Scottish Government.”
The tycoon, who spent most of yesterday looking at every hole at the championship links, made it clear that, should the wind farm get the go-ahead, then the Menie development would end once the course is opened later this year and construction on the planned clubhouse is completed.
He said: “It will be a golf course and it will be a beautiful clubhouse and that will be it. That’s not what I want.
“We have a concept for a hotel which will blow everyone’s minds but I can’t have a hotel looking into those windmills.
“I didn’t want this fight. I am on the Scottish Parliament’s side. I’m not their enemy – I’m their friend.
“I just want what’s good for Scotland and also what’s good for my course. I built the greatest course in the world and I don’t want it tarnished by this industrial junk that doesn’t even work looming over it.”
Mr Trump, who is spending two days at Menie fine-tuning the development of his course before he leaves for Edinburgh, said he had first raised concerns about proposals for a wind farm close to the Menie estate before he decided to go ahead with the golf resort development.
“Jack McConnell said you won’t have windmills on the site,” he said. “And he said the same thing as Alex Salmond that it wouldn’t go ahead from a defence stand-point. Jack McConnell and Alex Salmond said to me there were Ministry of Defence problems and shipping lane problems so I never thought it was a big deal.
“Jack McConnell said it will never happen. They wanted me to build so badly. I should have said that I want it in writing but I didn’t ask for that because they made it sound like it wasn’t going to happen.”
He claimed that Mr Salmond had given him similar “guarantees” four years ago when he again raised concerns about the demonstrator wind farm.
Mr Trump said: “When I had a discussion with Alex a number of years ago Alex laughed at the concept of it happening.
“It wasn’t going to happen. He said it’s not going to happen.”
And Mr Trump said he had been left completely baffled by the First Minister’s apparent new-found passion for renewables.
A spokesperson for the First Minister said: “Absolutely no assurances have been given at any time.”