Edinburgh development with links to Donald Trump staffer branded ‘ghastly’

United States treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin is linked to the Rockshiel Trust, which is behind the proposed Edinburgh development
United States treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin is linked to the Rockshiel Trust, which is behind the proposed Edinburgh development
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A trust with ties to one of Donald Trump’s most senior cabinet members and his Scots wife has resubmitted plans for what has been described as a “ghastly” housing development in one of Scotland’s most desirable neighbourhoods.

The Rockshiel Trust, listed by Steven Mnuchin, the US Treasury secretary, among his multimillion pound property portfolio, has lodged revised blueprints for a series of upmarket townhouses and apartments in an Edinburgh conservation area.

As revealed by Scotland on Sunday, the trust, which counts Mnuchin’s wife, the actor, Louise Linton, among its beneficiaries, pulled its original plans last year, but not before they had attracted scores of objections.

Now it is pushing ahead with new blueprints for eight terraced townhouses and nine apartments in west Murrayfield. The original application aimed to build ten townhouses and seven apartments.

The development is earmarked for the grounds of a property in Murrayfield’s Kinellan Road, home to a 19th century ornamental pond experts believe may be associated with William Playfair, the architect who sculpted the capital’s modern cityscape.

Since they were filed with the City of Edinburgh Council on 13 January, the revised plans have been unanimously met with objections.

One neighbour told Scotland on Sunday the development would “trash” an important wildlife habitat, adding: “These are already very wealthy people attempting to enrich themselves even further and to hell with the consequences,” explained the resident, who did not wish to be named.

The trust is listed by Mnuchin in his filings with the Office of Government Ethics, a US government agency set up to guard against conflicts of interest in the executive branch.

Mnuchin’s disclosures include other properties in Edinburgh worth up to £8m.

However, the US Treasury said he has no financial interest in Rockshiel Trust, and it is only listed because of his wife.

Sarah Boyack, the Lothian MSP and Scottish Labour’s local government spokeswoman, said: “This development perfectly illustrates the economic inequalities facing our city.

“Only this week it was revealed that Edinburgh’s housing crisis has worsened with the council failing in its legal duty to house people on nearly 1,500 occasions between 2017 and 2019.

“Families with children are stuck in B&Bs for an average of 212 days, which is completely unacceptable, and Edinburgh’s Poverty Commission also highlighted that average rents now exceed a staggering £1,000.

“Across the board, we’re seeing inappropriate developments which don’t address the issues people face. It is residents who are paying the price of the financialisation of Edinburgh housing by international investors.”

Murrayfield Community Council is among those to have lodged formal objections so far. A date has yet to be set to rule on the application.

A spokesman for the Rockshiel Trust did not respond to enquiries.