Menie estate resident calls for inquiry into dealings with Donald Trump
ONE of the Menie estate residents at the centre of the controversy over Donald Trump’s £750 million golf resort is calling for a full public inquiry into the dealings between the billionaire and Scottish authorities.
David Milne, a long-standing opponent of the Trump resort, was one of the four homeowners who lived with the threat of compulsory purchase for two years when the sites of their properties were included in the approved masterplan for the American tycoon’s golf complex.
The threat was eventually lifted in February last year when Mr Trump announced he had ruled out the use of compulsory purchase orders to help develop his landmark golf resort in Aberdeenshire.
The conflict between the Menie residents and the Trump Organisation was featured earlier this week in the BBC2 documentary You’ve Been Trumped made by Montrose-based film maker Anthony Baxter. Mr Milne yesterday announced he plans to submit a petition to the Scottish Parliament next month, calling for a fresh review into the dealings of all central and local government-related bodies with the Trump Organisation.
He said: “The response to You’ve Been Trumped this week has been truly extraordinary. We are so grateful for the enormous number of messages of support we have received, including many from people who had previously backed the project. Attitudes have shifted fast, and everyone can now see how Mr Trump has behaved here. Heavy-handed billionaires are not the most serious problem though and, in any case, it’s hard to legislate against them.
“Our homes are safe now, too, even if the environment we live in has been devastated. The root of the problems we faced is deeper.”
Mr Milne, 48, an independent HSE consultant, claimed: “There appears to be a culture within Scottish Government, both local and central and in both current and previous administrations, where the rules can be bent in favour of developers like Mr Trump, which is why I am calling for a full public inquiry into all of Scottish officialdom’s dealings with the Trump Organisation back to 2005.”
“It’s time for the truth to be established. No other community in Scotland should ever have to put up with the kind of treatment local people here have gone through over the past seven years.”
“This isn’t about me or anybody else against Trump, but an effort to try and ensure that those who were responsible for making numerous mistakes and breaches of the rules are held to account, and an attempt to prevent anything similar happening again in the future.”
The inquiry would date back to 2005, shortly before the plan to build on an environmentally-sensitive area of dunes on the north-east coast was revealed.
The timescale would cover former first minister Jack McConnell’s Labour-led Scottish Executive, Alex Salmond’s SNP administration and Aberdeenshire Council, which was controlled at the time by Liberal Democrats.
The planning application was initially rejected by a local authority committee, causing turmoil among councillors, and was controversially called in by the Scottish Government. The First Minister became local MSP for the area in 2007.
The plan was subsequently rubber stamped by the council, then approved by Finance Secretary John Swinney in November 2008.
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Saturday 25 May 2013
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