US TYCOON Donald Trump has submitted multi-million pound plans to further develop his Aberdeenshire golf resort - including a second course, plus a massive ballroom and banquet hall.
The move comes two years after he threatened to stop any further investment in the site because of proposals for an offshore windfarm of Aberdeen Bay.
The businessman is, however, now driving ahead with expanding the development at Balmedie as he continues a civil action at the Court of Session in Edinburgh against the developers of the £230 million European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC).
Mr Trump is also of the opinion the planned offshore turbines will never see the light of day – a belief rejected by the Swedish utility firm, Vattenfall, who are behind the scheme.
The American millionaire’s applications for the golf resort include public notifications for the second golf course – The MacLeod Course, to be named after his mother who hailed from Stornoway in Lewis.
There are also plans for a 400-plus capacity ballroom and banquet hall, with additional hotel accommodation and leisure facilities at the 19-bedroom MacLeod House and Lodge.
The applications also include details for a 30-bedroom staff accommodation.
Mr Trump said: “I consider what we’ve created at Trump International Golf Links in Aberdeenshire to be one of my greatest achievements.
“We have incredible plans to further develop the site, and along with my investment at Turnberry, my commitment to Scotland is stronger than ever.”
The announcement for further expansion of the controversial golf resort, which opened in July 2012, was greeted as a “great boost” to the north-east economy, which is currently being threatened by a downturn of oil prices and development in the region.
Ian Armstrong, Regional Director for the Scottish Council for Development and Industry, said: “The significance of a major international investor looking beyond short-term issues and adopting a long-term view should not be underestimated in terms of the fillip it provides to the North East of Scotland and its economy.
“At a time when there are some economic clouds on the horizon, the announcement of the plans by The Trump Organisation for further substantial investment in their site at Menie is a great boost to the region.”
The plans were also welcomed by Robert Collier, chief executive of Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce.
He said: The business community in the North East will be pleased to welcome the continued investment in Trump International Golf Links.
“On top of the championship links course, five-star accommodation and a new clubhouse opening in May, the plans for a second course, banqueting facilities, infrastructure and a refreshed master plan are confirmation that investment in the site continues to build a valuable asset for the region.”
Further applications for leisure and residential units are intended for later in the year.
Future development at Trump International Golf Links, Scotland, was halted in 2013 due to the threat of the proposed European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre.
Mr Trump decided to concentrate of purchasing other golf courses, including Doonbeg in Ireland and Turnberry in Ayrshire.
In the press statement announcing the new applications, the Trump Organisation said the offshore technology was “now widely regarded to be obsolete and outdated”.
They also claimed the primary developer, Vattenfall, was no longer able to finance the project, while other stakeholders have also since withdrawn support for the scheme.
The statement added: “Confidence has been restored that the Aberdeenshire shoreline will not be blighted by this colossal, experimental, industrial energy plant which is now increasingly unlikely ever to proceed.”
However, Mr Trump will continue his legal challenge over the planning decision for the offshore wind testing centre.
A Vattenfall spokesman responded by stating: “The project partners, Vattenfall and Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group (AREG), are continuing to progress the EOWDC and want to see the scheme come to fruition.
“Widely accepted as a much-needed centre of significant European importance, the EOWDC is pivotal to helping the Scottish and UK Governments meet their ambitious renewable energy targets and is planned to test and demonstrate innovation and next generation technologies.
“It would also be an integral, flagship project for Aberdeen City and Shire’s enterprising Energetica initiative, further positioning the region at the forefront of the sustainable energy evolution as well as supporting the diversification of its energy-based economy.”
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