Trump Organisation vows to spend £150m at Aberdeenshire golf resort

The Trump Organisation has promised to spend £150m at its lossmaking Aberdeenshire golf resort after unveiling plans to build 500 homes as part of a major expansion.

Donald Trump has decribed his Menie Estate golf course as 'the greatest golf course in the world'. Picture: Dan Philips/TSPL

The family business of US president Donald Trump intends to construct a new residential estate at its Trump International Golf Links property in Balmedie.

The development, which will be known as Trump Estate, will feature townhouses and mansions, with house prices ranging from £295,000 to “several million pounds.” It also includes 50 “hotel cottages,” a sports centre, and retail and commercial space.

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In a press release issued this morning, the Trump Organisation, which is controlled by Mr Trump’s adult sons, Eric and Donald Jr, said it had submitted the plans to Aberdeenshire Council on Tuesday.

A spokeswoman for the local authority said yesterday evening that a planning application had been lodged.

Mr Trump’s property company has already been granted outline approval to establish 500 houses, part of the second phase of development at the resort.

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A separate planning application for a second 18 hole golf course - which Mr Trump intends to name after his mother - has yet to be heard by councillors.

The Trump Organisation said the latest work was part of a £750m phased investment at Aberdeenshire and would create nearly 300 permanent jobs. The resort currently employs 93 staff.

In a statement, Eric Trump explained: “We own a truly phenomenal property along the coast of North East Scotland and remain fully committed to our long-term vision for the site.

“The timing is now right for us to release the next phase of investment and the significant economic benefits this brings.

“Initial interest to our plans have been incredible and, subject to detailed planning approval, we are aiming to break ground next year.”

Sarah Malone, executive vice president of Trump International Golf Links, added: “Improvements to the region’s infrastructure and recovery signs in the economy makes this the right time to drive forward this next major phase of development.”

Until the Trump Organisation presents a planning application, the full details of the project remain unclear.

But under the conditions attached to the 2008 outline planning application for the resort, there are a number of restrictions in place.

For example, Mr Trump’s firm must complete at least one block of holiday apartments before it can begin construction work on private homes.

The holiday homes must also be occupied on a letting or “fractionalised ownership basis,” with guests limited to a maximum stay of 12 weeks a year.

The Trump Organisation must also create scores of affordable housing units as part of the development.

Debra Storr, a planning consultant and former Aberdeenshire councillor who was among those elected representatives to oppose Mr Trump’s inaugural Scottish resort, told The Scotsman: “The original application and outline planning permission is incredibly specific about phrasing, and that’s designed to make sure the benefits were delivered before all of the harm was done. Those requirements have been written into the local plan, which is very unusual.

“They have to built an awful lot of the hotel level accommodation before they can start on the residential properties.”

She added: “We’re not seeing much benefit out of the Trump development so far. The number of jobs it supports is trivial in the grand scheme of things.”

Ten years after Mr Trump’s controversial development was approved by John Swinney after a public local inquiry, the company behind Trump International Golf Links has yet to turn a profit.

The latest annual accounts show it ran up a loss of £1.4m in 2016, and is dependent on a £40.6m interest free loan from Mr Trump, who originally vowed to spend as much as £1bn on the site.

The company remains wholly owned by Mr Trump through a New York-based revocable trust.