Coun­cil poised to make £5m Trump de­mand

Go-ahead for hous­ing at golf re­sort may de­pend on big con­tri­bu­tions to hous­ing and health­care

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - FRONT PAGE - BY CALUM ROSS

HOUS­ING chiefs are poised to hit Don­ald Trump’s north-east golf re­sort with a £5mil­lion bill to pay for new af­ford­able homes.

The move has been sug­gested as a con­di­tion of any ap­proval of the de­vel­oper’s plans to build 500 homes at the Me­nie es­tate as part of a £150mil­lion ex­pan­sion.

Aberdeen­shire Coun­cil, which only al­lows such pay­ments as a “last re­sort” when af­ford­able houses can­not be built on-site, said the cash would be used to “ad­dress lo­cal hous­ing need in the El­lon Acad­emy catch­ment area”.

NHS Grampian has also said it would want the de­vel­oper to fund a new health cen­tre in El­lon while ed­u­ca­tion bosses would re­quire money to raise pri­mary school ca­pac­ity.

One lo­cal com­mu­nity coun­cil de­scribed the de­signs as “Dis­ney­land meets Le­goland” but said it would with­draw its ob­jec­tion if a se­ries of con­di­tions were met.

Trump In­ter­na­tional Golf Links lodged the plans ear­lier this year, un­veil­ing a vi­sion for hous­ing, ho­tel cot­tages, a gym, eques­trian cen­tre and space for shops and of­fices.

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 be­ing built along­side the green.

The de­vel­op­ment – known as The Trump Es­tate – 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 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.

It is un­der­stood that the de­vel­oper is re­quired to pro­vide 125 af­ford­able homes as part of the scheme.

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, to “con­serve the his­toric set­ting” of Me­nie House.

And ed­u­ca­tion chiefs said con­tri­bu­tions would be re­quired for in­creased pri­mary school pro­vi­sion, and that there “may be an im­pact on se­condary school ca­pac­ity”, de­pend­ing on the build-out rate.

NHS Grampian, mean­while, has said that the de­vel­oper would have to pay for a new health fa­cil­ity in El­lon.

Foveran com­mu­nity coun­cil has said it has no ob­jec­tions to the ap­pli­ca­tion, but Bel­helvie com­mu­nity coun­cil has been highly crit­i­cal on a num­ber of grounds, say­ing it would con­tra­vene the lo­cal de­vel­op­ment plan and agreed con­di­tions for fu­ture work at the site.

It added that the de­sign of the in­di­vid­ual build­ings was a “mat­ter of con­cern”, in­clud­ing the pro­posed Town Hall, which it de­scribed as “Dis­ney­land meets Le­goland”.

The com­mu­nity coun­cil said it was “unan­i­mously op­posed” to the ap­pli­ca­tion as it stands, al­though it could back it if a num­ber of con­di­tions were at­tached, in­clud­ing con­struc­tion of a fly­over on the A90 Balmedie to Tip­perty dual car­riage­way, as well as pro­vi­sion of a new pri­mary school, com­mu­nity fa­cil­i­ties and 150 af­ford­able homes.

More than 3,000 other in­di­vid­u­als have also com­mented on the ap­pli­ca­tion, most stat­ing their op­po­si­tion.

Trump In­ter­na­tional Golf Links Aberdeen has not paid any de­vel­oper con­tri­bu­tions since the orig­i­nal plans were ap­proved a decade ago, be­cause the scale of de­vel­op­ment has not reached the thresh­olds orig­i­nally set.

The firm did not re­spond to a re­quest for com­ment last night but has pre­vi­ously con­firmed that a plan­ning gain pack­age will be of­fered as part of this next phase.

Its plan­ning state­ment said that the scheme “will de­liver af­ford­able hous­ing in ac­cor­dance with the coun­cil’s re­quire­ments”.

“£500,000 would be paid for ev­ery 50 homes”

DE­VEL­OP­MENT: The US pres­i­dent’s In­ter­na­tional Golf Links in the north-east have lodged plans for an ex­pan­sion in­clud­ing 500 houses and ho­tel cot­tages, with the pro­posed de­sign pic­tured above

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.