Trump could be hit with £5m af­ford­able houses bill

The Press and Journal (Inverness, Highlands, and Islands) - - NEWS -

Donald Trump’s north-east golf re­sort could be hit with a £5 mil­lion bill for new af­ford­able hous­ing if its plans for 500 homes are ap­proved.

The de­mand has been set out as var­i­ous pub­lic agen­cies and com­mu­nity groups re­sponded to the pro­posed de­vel­op­ment at the Me­nie Es­tate in Aberdeen­shire.

Ear­lier this year, Trump In­ter­na­tional Golf Links lodged plans for a £150m ex­pan­sion, with hous­ing and ho­tel cot­tages to be built on the site.

The de­vel­op­ment would also in­clude a gym, eques­trian cen­tre and space for shops and of­fices.

The pro­pos­als have split opin­ion, with sup­port­ers say­ing it would be a “lu­cra­tive” draw for vis­i­tors and a boost to the econ­omy and op­po­nents ar­gu­ing they do not in­clude af­ford­able or so­cial hous­ing.

Now Aberdeen­shire Coun­cil’s own hous­ing depart­ment has re­vealed it would want £5m from the de­vel­oper to “ad­dress lo­cal hous­ing need in the El­lon Academy catch­ment area” if the scheme is ap­proved.

A to­tal of £500,000 would be paid to the coun­cil on the com­ple­tion of every 50 homes in the 500-house scheme.

Known as “com­muted” pay­ments, Aberdeen­shire Coun­cil’s poli­cies state that they can only be used in “rare and ex­cep­tional cases” and as a “last re­sort” to pro­vide af­ford­able hous­ing else­where if it can­not be ac­com­mo­dated on the de­vel­op­ment site.

Other re­sponses to the ap­pli­ca­tion, which was lodged in July, show that the coun­cil’s roads depart­ment cur­rently ob­jects be­cause “in­suf­fi­cient in­for­ma­tion” has been pro­vided.

Lo­cal au­thor­ity en­vi­ron­ment of­fi­cials want the de­vel­oper to re­lo­cate part of the de­vel­op­ment, or carry out strate­gic land­scap­ing, in or­der to “con­serve the historic set­ting” of Me­nie House.

And ed­u­ca­tion chiefs said con­tri­bu­tions would be re­quired for in­creased pri­mary school pro­vi­sion, and the “im­pact on sec­ondary school ca­pac­ity”.

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