US TYCOON Donald Trump performed a dramatic U-turn yesterday by announcing “one of Europe’s best hotels” would go ahead next to his Aberdeenshire golf course – despite previously saying no more investment would be made while plans for an 11-turbine wind farm were still being considered.
The tycoon jetted into Scotland as Scottish Natural Heritage became the latest organisation to drop its opposition to the proposed wind farm.
He had pledged he would not spend an extra penny on his £750 million championship golf links at the Menie Estate while the offshore wind farm remained a possibility. But he said yesterday that he was now “ready” to create the best hotel Scotland had ever seen.
The celebrity businessman also warned he was planning a “massive lawsuit” in relation to the wind farm – which he claims would ruin the view for golfers at his course, which saw a lavish opening ceremony in July.
Mr Trump, who flew in by private jet to Aberdeen Airport, said: “I’m ready to build a hotel. It will be the best hotel in Scotland and one of the best hotels in Europe. Everybody wants to be near our course.”
He had previously outlined his vision for a luxury 450-room hotel, spa and hundreds of holiday homes when he bought up land on the estate several years ago. But his five-star proposal looked doomed when plans were revealed for the wind farm in the sea off the coast from the links.
Mr Trump entered into a war of words with First Minister Alex Salmond over the SNP’s energy vision for Scotland and vowed to fight wind farms across the country.
But it seems the businessman, who appears in the reality television show US Apprentice, has now had a change of heart over downing tools on his development.
Mr Trump yesterday claimed the EOWDC – designed by Vattenfall, Technip, and the Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group – could consist of mismatched, unsightly turbines each created by a different manufacturer.
He said: “This will end up looking like a poor man’s Disney Land. We want to do something to help Scotland.
“We will fight it. We have good lawyers. There is a really terrible thing going on and it’s all because Alex Salmond has a death wish for Scotland.”
The billionaire also hit out at plans for a wind farm 3.5 miles of the coast from the championship Turnberry course in Ayrshire.
A Marine Scotland study identifying the spot as a potential site for massive turbines was this week blasted by Euro MP Struan Stevenson.
It is feared the iconic views across the Firth of Clyde from the golf course could be blighted by the wind farm.
Mr Trump said: “I think it is very destructive to Turnberry. I think it will have a huge negative impact.
“It will no longer be the place it is and will suffer tremendously in terms of tourism.”
Patrick Harvie, Green MSP for Glasgow, said: “The Aberdeen Bay project is crucial to Scotland’s low carbon future. The project has the potential to transform our reliance on fossil fuels and generate millions of pounds for our economy.
“Mr Trump is entirely isolated on this development and sounds increasingly eccentric on the whole issue. I urge the Scottish Government to do all it can to prevent such an important project from being delayed by the deep pockets of someone so ill-informed, self-interested and litigious.”