Trump’s bid for Turn­berry vil­las re­jected

The Scotsman - - FRONT PAGE - By MAR­TYN MCLAUGH­LIN

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

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