Donald Trump told to pay £5m for affordable houses at Balmedie links

The Trump Organisation has been told it will have to pay £5 million towards affordable housing as part of plans for a luxury estate next to the US president's golf resort.
Donald Trump at the 18th tee of his golf course. Picture: Dan PhillipsDonald Trump at the 18th tee of his golf course. Picture: Dan Phillips
Donald Trump at the 18th tee of his golf course. Picture: Dan Phillips

Officials at Aberdeenshire Council have said the seven-figure payment is necessary to meet housing needs in the nearby area.

In what represents the single biggest development undertaken by any of Trump’s firms since he entered the White House, plans have been lodged to build up to 500 homes next to Trump International Golf Links Scotland in Balmedie.

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The Trump Estate venture promises “exceptional country living”, with houses on sale for as much as “several million” pounds.

But documents submitted to the local authority only specify 27 affordable housing units, described as “key worker” apartments.

Anne Anderson, an affordable housing development officer at the council, has asked Trump’s staff for more details of the affordable housing provision “as a matter of urgency”.

She explained: “The housing service would require further details of this proposal before this could be considered as an affordable housing contribution.

“On this occasion the housing services would be looking to secure a commuted sum of £5m in order to address local housing need in the Ellon Academy catchment area.”

The number of affordable homes proposed so far represents a significant reduction compared with Trump’s original plans for 98 affordable units at the Aberdeenshire resort.

A section 75 agreement, struck between the council and Trump International Golf Club Scotland in December 2008, specified that Trump’s company would make two “affordable housing contribution” payments totalling £7.35m.

However, because the scale of the development has not been as large as the approved plans, the payments have not been triggered.

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Debra Storr, a planning consultant and former Aberdeenshire councillor who opposed Trump’s inaugural golf course, said: “They’re trying to kind of get away with classifying workers’ accommodation as affordable housing units. This is the Trump Organisation trying to get away with bloody murder.

“The generalised requirement for affordable housing is 25 per cent [of the development], so if they are building 500 houses, 125 should affordable”.

Scotland on Sunday asked Aberdeenshire Council if the quantity of affordable housing in the application was sufficient, and whether it intended to uphold the terms of the section 75 agreement.

A spokeswoman for the local authority said that as it was dealing with a live planning application, it was unable to go into that “level of detail,” but added that “affordable housing and developer contributions will be considered through the assessment of the application.”

Trump International Golf Club did not respond to Scotland on Sunday’s inquiry.