Tycoon Donald Trump has vowed he will build a second course at his Aberdeenshire golf resort, claiming he is “winning the battle” against a planned offshore wind farm.
The US billionaire businessman – who last week indicated he is preparing for a presidential run in 2016 – withdrew plans for the second course at the Menie Estate, Balmedie, after losing a legal battle to overturn plans for a wind power scheme which he claimed would spoil the view.
But in an interview published in a golfing magazine, Trump vowed: “I will build a second course in Aberdeen”.
Representatives of the Trump Organisation also told the Sunday Herald they believe the “ill-conceived” wind farm project will not go ahead because of a lack of funding.
However the developers of the planned European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC), which will see 11 turbines built off the Aberdeen coast, have insisted the scheme is still progressing.
Plans for the second 18-hole course on the Menie Estate had been unveiled to the public in 2013. Last February a planning application was withdrawn only days after it was submitted, after Trump lost a court battle to stop the wind farm development.
Trump launched a fresh legal challenge to the wind farm last month, requesting the Court of Session review a decision by Scottish ministers not to hold a public inquiry into the scheme.
In the interview published in April’s edition of ‘Today’s Golfer’, Trump said: “I will build a second course in Aberdeen.
“I held off building the planned second course and hotel because of the offshore windmills, but that’s a battle I’m winning…I’m in court to stop them because I don’t want them to blight a magnificent landscape like they have elsewhere in Scotland. I did Scotland a big favour, believe me.”
Trump provoked huge controversy when he built his luxury golf course at Menie Estate, with environmental campaigners outraged over building on an area of protected sand dunes and allegations of intimidation of local opponents to the scheme.
In the interview he said he had “tremendous love” for the people of Aberdeen, adding: “They love what I have done.
“It’s interesting that a couple of people can create the feeling that what I did wasn’t popular, when in fact we have a tremendous popularity.
“But people don’t write about that, they write about some guy who wanted to get more money than his land was worth.”
But Aberdeenshire councillor Martin Ford, a long-standing critic of Trump’s scheme, said: “The only people who believe Mr Trump’s fantasy view of the world are himself and those he pays to do so.
“He certainly is not doing Scotland a big favour, that is for sure. But it is difficult at any point to see any actions by Mr Trump designed to do a favour for anybody other than himself.
“He hasn’t done us a favour from the day he turned up to vandalise our wonderful dune system.”
In response to a Sunday Herald request to clarify the plans for the second golf course, executive vice-president of the Trump Organisation George Sorial claimed the financial supporters of the EOWDC proposal had withdrawn.
He added: “As a result, no one is providing funding so the ill-conceived scheme can’t possibly proceed.
“This application has languished in the planning process for more than one decade and the technology has now become obsolete.
“We will continue to protect our investment and challenge any wind turbine applications that impact our development.
“It’s our expectation that these matters will resolve themselves to our benefit and we envision much more for our magnificent site in Aberdeen.”
A spokesman for Aberdeen Offshore Wind Farm Limited, the company behind the EOWDC, said: “The project partners, Vattenfall and Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group (AREG), are continuing to progress the EOWDC.
“As with any development of this size, there are challenges which are factored into the schedule as the project partners work towards seeing the scheme come into fruition.
He added: “The EOWDC is widely accepted as a much-needed centre of significant European importance with a pivotal role to play in helping the Scottish and UK Governments meet their ambitious renewable energy targets.”
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