Councillors have paved the way for Donald Trump to bid to bring a major championship event to his north-east golf resort.
They backed the New York based businessman’s plans for a £5million granite clubhouse at his links course in Aberdeenshire – after hearing it could one day host the Ryder Cup.
On the eve of the biennial clash between the best players from Europe and the US members of the local authority’s Formartine area committee heard it was Mr Trump’s “dream” to stage the competition.
The new clubhouse, which will replace a temporary building at the tycoon’s championship on the Menie Estate – could prove to be the final piece in the jigsaw he needs to attract a prestige event such as the Scottish Open.
Speaking on behalf of Trump International Golf Links Scotland at yesterday’s committee meeting in Ellon, Elaine Farquharson-Black, head of planning for Burness Paull, said: “Who knows, in this the week of the Ryder Cup, perhaps one day we will see the competition come further north.
“This would take us one step closer to bringing that dream to a reality.”
And last night one of Mr Trump’s closest advisers told the Press and Journal securing a major championship “will always be a priority” for the organisation.
George Sorial, the Trump Organisation’s executive vice-president, said he was delighted the committee had approved plans for the 5,000sq ft building with a long terrace and views over the course.
Designs for a substantially larger facility for players and visitors were tabled by the Trump Organisation in 2012.
Ms Farquharson-Black said the decision to downsize the plans was as a result of how well the smaller temporary building has been received.
She said: “Following the opening of the championship course in 2011, it has become a major tourist attraction.
“Having listened to very positive comments from players and visitors about the comfortable feeling of the existing clubhouse, we decided to make the new one smaller.”
The proposals were backed – almost unanimously – by committee members.
But Independent councillor Paul Johnson raised several issues he had with the Trump International Golf Links development, specifically over sewage.
He was, however, reprimanded by the committee’s SNP chairman Rob Merson, who said councillors could only consider the merits of the proposal in front of them and not wider concerns.
Last night, Trump International Golf Links Scotland executive vice-president, Sarah Malone, said: “We are grateful to the council for their continued support and look forward to starting construction soon with a view to completing the clubhouse next spring.
“Our championship golf course and practice facilities continue to attract glowing international reviews and will soon be complemented by a world class clubhouse.”
Last month the Press and Journal revealed that although The Trump Organisation would be pressing ahead with proposals for the clubhouse, the tycoon was standing by his promise not to build a hotel and second course until a controversial offshore wind turbine plan is scrapped.
It is understood Mr Trump remains outraged over the Scottish Government’s decision to back the 11-turbine European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC).
He believes the £230million project will destroy the views from his course.
The new clubhouse will be a permanent replacement for the temporary building, which planning conditions stipulate must be removed by June next year.