But now Donald Trump is finding a 14th century property at his north-east getaway is a thorn in the side of his real estate firm’s plans to build hundreds of luxury homes.
Officials at Aberdeenshire Council have warned the Trump Estate development at the US president’s inaugural Scottish golf resort would impact on Menie House, a B-listed country house.
A tranche of housing earmarked for land less than 150 metres south of the property led to fears that Menie House’s character and setting would suffer. Now, Trump’s firm has agreed to redraw its plans and relocate the properties elsewhere.
The moves comes as a design review panel at the council, comprised of architects and planners, described the vision for the estate as “light on detail”.
The Trump Organisation has promised to “create the ultimate in countryside living” with its blueprint for 550 luxury homes and leisure units near its award-winning Trump International Golf Links course.
Its £150 million vision would see a range of house types offered for sale, including The Balmoral, a five-bedroom villa, the prices for which will start at £1.3m. However, it emerged last week that the planning application has been delayed, with a rift opening between Trump’s company and the local authority.
One of the areas of contention was the houses near Menie House, which Trump initially planned to transform into his Scotttish family residence back in 2008 before eventually turning it into a hotel.
Shaun Norman, an environment officer with the council, said the housing in question would fall foul of the local development plan.
In his consultation response to the development, he advised Trump’s company to “reassess the location of the proposed new houses” or introduce “mitigating measures”.
Trump’s architects, Aberdeen-based Covell Matthews, have since said a decision has been taken to remove the “resort lodges” and reposition them in another site.
Sarah Malone, executive vice-president of Trump International, told Scotland on Sunday: “It is standard practice in any planning process to refine plans in response to consultees’ comments. Whilst we do not agree with the environmental officer in question, adjustments to some buildings have been made where appropriate. We are entirely satisfied and confident in our plans.”
However, the relocated housing is unlikely to be the last hurdle Trump’s firm will have to clear if the scheme is to be approved.
Minutes of last month’s meeting of the design review panel identified “a number of key matters for consideration”.
They state that the first phase of the development “appears to suffer from a lack of housing mix in terms of density”, with “a lack of focal point or heart that would be expected in a new settlement”.
It added that a planned children’s play area was “relatively detached” from the housing and “may not be seen as a safe location for young children to travel to alone”.