Trump wins flagpole battle with Aberdeenshire Council

Donald Trump at Turnberry in Ayrshire, one of two golf courses he owns in Scotland. Picture: John Devlin/TSPL

Donald Trump at Turnberry in Ayrshire, one of two golf courses he owns in Scotland. Picture: John Devlin/TSPL

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US President elect Donald Trump has won a battle over a flagpole on the grounds of one of his Scots golf courses.

The billionaire tycoon erected the 80ft pole flying a Saltire outside his Menie Estate clubhouse at Trump International Golf Links last year.

But Aberdeenshire Council ordered him to remove it after it was installed without planning permission.

He appealed to the Scottish Government in an attempt to have the decision made by councillors overturned.

And following a visit to the course government reporter Claire Milne has agreed with him and given the plan the go-ahead.

She said: “When viewed from the car park and from the more elevated position at the entrance road, the difference in height between the flagpole and existing buildings is noticeable.

“However, the clubhouse, which I consider the more prominent of the two buildings, extends to over 30 metres in width. The surfaced car park, lighting columns and parked cars are also viewable in the foreground.

“Seen in this context, the impression of the overall height of the flagpole is considerably reduced and I do not find it obtrusive or out of proportion to the scale of the existing buildings or its immediate surroundings.

“The flagpole is visible from the golf course to varying degrees either in front of or to the side of the clubhouse and bag drop buildings.

“Given its slim design, the flagpole does not obscure views of the existing buildings or significantly overshadow them. Furthermore,

within the vicinity of the clubhouse, as a bystander or golf club visitor, I do not consider that there would be a sense of visual dominance from the flagpole, to the extent that this would make one feel uncomfortable.”

Fears had been raised the flagpole would impact the views around the scenic course.

But Miss Milne dismissed the concerns, saying: “I accept that the flag itself rather than the flagpole may make it more prominent and that the two elements are clearly related.

“Both are noticeable from many areas of the surrounding countryside and from residential properties, although at varying distances.

“However, I do not consider that the proposal is a distraction to the setting of the golf complex or to the character of this low coastal landscape.

“The flag, as a moving component, and the pole, due to its slender nature, do not intrude into the exposed long

expansive views across the area, therefore the overall integrity and character of the landscape, which includes the golf course, is maintained.”

She added: “I therefore conclude that the proposed development accords overall with the relevant provisions of the development plan and that there are no material considerations which would still justify refusing to grant planning permission.”

Mr Trump had initially raised two poles but one of them was allowed to be kept.

But the second structure that sits around 70ft south of the clubhouse sparked a dispute.

A retrospective application went before local councillors who rejected it after deciding it would have a “disproportionate impact”.

Sarah Malone, executive vice president of Trump International Golf Links Scotland, had previously said she was baffled anyone would object to them erecting the Scottish flag.

She said: “We’re a five-star international resort – I cannot believe that us proudly flying a couple of Saltire flags in the middle of our golf property could be so objectionable.”

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