DCSIMG

Trump rejects visit to Lewis ancestral home

DONALD Trump, the American tycoon, has dashed hopes in the Western Isles that he might visit his mother's home island when he comes to Scotland at the end of the month.

It had been hoped in Lewis that the billionaire property developer and TV star might visit during his trip to view the site of his planned 300m golf development in Aberdeenshire.

Trump will spend three days at the Menie Estate near Balmedie where he has vowed to build the best golf resort in the world.

The 59-year-old will be flying to Aberdeen from New York in his 727 aircraft on Friday, April 28, and will leave on the Sunday evening. But a spokeswoman has said the tycoon's tight schedule means that any pilgrimage to his ancestral home in the Western Isles will be out of the question. Trump's mother, Mary MacLeod, came from the village of Tong near Stornoway.

The spokeswoman said: "I'm afraid he won't be visiting Lewis. The timetable will not allow it. He will be at meetings the whole time while he is here."

Trump's plan to come to Scotland had led to speculation that the businessman and star of The Apprentice reality TV show might visit his Gaelic-speaking island cousins who still live in Tong.

One said: "If he's coming all the way to Scotland, it would be great if he came here to see us. I don't know what he'd make of the island. But it's always nice here around the end of April and beginning of May."

Trump hopes to bring major championships such as The Open to his controversial proposed development.

In an interview on the development's website, Trump, who had been looking for a piece of land in Europe for the past five years, said: "We think this should be absolutely a links course of the highest magnitude and I am willing to spend the money to make it the finest course of its kind anywhere in the world."

He later added: "I love Scottish golf, I love the land and the fact that my mother was born in Scotland and she had that Scottish accent right up until the end, and it was always very special to me."

Work on the development, which will create around 400 jobs and could bring 150m to the economy over the next decade, is scheduled to begin in September with a course opening scheduled for spring 2008.

But plans for a 40m offshore wind farm nearby have led to hints from Trump that he will pull out of the project. Trump is worried that the turbines will spoil the view from the golf course and that his plan for the resort will become mired in a long drawn-out planning row.

But local wind power developers have responded by claiming that the wind farm will not ruin the view and that the two plans can co-exist.

 
 
 

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