DONALD Trump is pushing ahead with plans to build a second golf course in Scotland, prompting fresh concerns from environmentalists about the impact on the landscape.
The billionaire businessman, whose controversial golf complex in Aberdeenshire has already provoked widespread opposition, has hired a leading architect to design a new links for golfers.
It is to be located at his £750 million resort on the Menie estate, where he opened his first championship course this summer following a lengthy battle with green campaigners and residents.
Trump International Golf Links Scotland already has outline planning permission for the sister course, which was part of the original design for the development.
The idea appeared to have been dropped during the four-year fight to turn the complex into reality during which Mr Trump declared that he would scrap his plans for a luxury hotel there unless the Scottish Government stopped an offshore wind farm development, which he said would ruin the view.
But yesterday it was reported that the Trump organisation aims to go ahead with the additional 18-hole course due to “huge” demand from golfers who have visited the resort since the first course opened in July.
Architect Dr Martin Hawtree, who designed the first course at the complex, revealed that he is now working on another “more relaxed” version set to be created in the south of the estate, which is where the original second course was due to be built.
Dr Hawtree, a specialist in golf course design based in England, said: “I can confirm that I am assisting him [Mr Trump] with a second course. It is in a less dramatic landscape than the current course, but it makes up for that with the variety of different types of vegetation.
“It has not been submitted for planning permission yet, but it already has outline planning permission from the original application.
The plans, which will still need approval from Aberdeenshire Council, prompted renewed criticism from environmental and outdoors groups who were against the original course, which has been built on a site of special scientific interest (SSSI) at Menie Dunes.
Johnny Hughes, director of conservation at the Scottish Wildlife Trust, said: “We’re very disappointed for wildlife in the dune system at Menie. We already have a golf course on an SSSI and now they want to build another in an area which is perhaps even more spectacular, with mini wetlands which are bubbling with biodiversity. This is another example of our ever-shrinking wild coastline being developed.”
Dave Morris, director of Ramblers Scotland, added: “We will need to assess the new plan, but we would start from the position of being pretty concerned about the present development in terms of the way it has been done and repeated reports we get over access problems there.”
Mr Trump vowed not to spend another penny on the hotel at his Menie Estate development after it emerged that an offshore wind farm was planned that would be visible to guests.
Sarah Malone, executive vice-president of Trump International Golf Links Scotland, said: “We have a detailed masterplan approval, which includes the second 18-hole course.”