Trump’s bid for Turnberry villas rejected
The Trump Organisation’s plans to build swathes of housing and luxury holiday villas at its Turnberry resort have been rejected.
The US president’s son, Eric, personally oversaw proposals to rezone vast tracts of farmland surrounding the historic venue for housing.
However, planners at South Ayrshire Council have turned down the firm’s attempts to have the prime agricultural land redesignated.
The Trump Organisation’s plans for a major expansion of its flagship Scottish resort by building swathes of housing and luxury villas have been thwarted, further jeopardising efforts by the US president’s company to stem multimillion-pound losses at its most prestigious overseas property.
Donald Trump’s firm planned to significantly increase the footprint of its Trump Turnberry resort, with his son, Eric, personally overseeing the plans to rezone the agricultural land for development. He enlisted architects who pointed to the firm’s “excellent track record of investment” in the region.
However, The Scotsman has learned that South Ayrshire Council’s planners have rejected the Trump Organisation’s request to reclassify vast tracts of farmland along the rugged Firth of Clyde coastline for housing.
In a further blow to the company’s plans to build on the land, the council’s proposed new local development plan (LDP2) also includes a policy which presumes against development that would “negatively affect the status” of Turnberry as a host venue of golf ’s prestigious Open Championship.
The Scotsman revealed last November how Mr Trump’s firm had enlisted Aberdeenbased Covell Matthews to convince the local authority to release the two land sites for the LDP2, describing the proposed development as a “logical extension” to Turnberry that would bring in more jobs.
It earmarked part of Mr Trump’s landholdings on the site for a housing development of 87 units and an unspecified number of villas. Ralph Porciani, Turnberry’s general manager, said the Trump Organisation was “quite excited” by the prospect.
But the proposed LDP2, now subject to a consultation, confirms the sites in question will remain zoned as prime agricultural land, deemed unsuitable for housing.
A spokeswoman for the council said: “Our planning department have advised that the sites were assessed against a range of environmental and planning criteria, alongside other alternative site submissions made in response to the main issues report consultation. It was concluded that they should not be recommended for release through LDP2.”
The Scotsman asked Trump Turnberry and the Trump Organisation if the decision would impact on its plans for future investment at Turnberry, and if it planned to appeal the exclusion of the sites in the LDP2. Neither company has responded.
Turnberry has run up four consecutive years of losses under Mr Trump totalling nearly £33m. It is also reliant on £107m in interest-free loans provided by the 73-year-old.
So, an attempt by the Trump Organisation to reclassify farmland near Turnberry so it can build luxury villas and other houses (surely they would be luxury too?) has been rejected by planners.
“Fake planning!” one can already hear the almost-certainly outraged US president protest. In his head, it’s probably all a crazy conspiracy to thwart what would have been the best housing development ever in the world. Until his next one that is.
The Scotsman, however, has full confidence in the good planners of South Ayrshire. But maybe, just maybe, Trump is currently too preoccupied to start asking his friend Boris Johnson to “do us a favour” and sort out his little local difficulty. If not with looming impeachment proceedings, then with his other big building project – the Wall. A new book claims Trump wanted to add a moat with alligators and snakes on America’s southern border. “Fake news!” he tweeted. “I may be tough on Border Security, but not that tough.”
Sounds ludicrous, but it’s hard to tell with Trump. He’s probably just decided to repurpose the idea as a water hazard near Turnberry’s 15th.
0 The Trump Organisation’s plans to rezone swathes of land it owns surrounding Turnberry for housing have been rejected