A councillor and prominent critic of Donald Trump’s Aberdeenshire golf course has confirmed he will not vote on plans to create 500 homes at the site.
An application to build The Trump Estate, first revealed in July, includes proposals for 50 hotel cottages and luxury hosing close to the course at Menie, near Balmedie.
The developers predict that, if approved, the scheme could create 2,000 construction jobs, almost 300 full-time posts and £250 million for the region’s economy.
However, soon after the plans were made public they drew a great deal of criticism, with more than 3,000 official letters of objection submitted to Aberdeenshire Council.
Among the concerns raised are fears over a lack of affordable or social housing.
And now East Garioch councillor Martin Ford, one of the US President’s most outspoken naysayers in the north-east, has revealed he will not participate in the upcoming vote on planning permission for the development.
Mr Ford said he would not be able to take part because he is staunchly opposed to Mr Trump, and therefore could be seen as biased.
Mr Ford said: “Public confidence in the planning system depends on decisions being taken fairly and impartially, based only on relevant, material considerations.
“So any councillor who can reasonably be regarded as biased towards a planning applicant should not take part in the decision on that application.”
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Mr Ford used his casting vote as chairman of the council’s infrastructure services committee to reject the golf course proposal in 2007, but it was later endorsed by the Scottish Government.
The Green councillor remains adamant that trying to “protect the Menie dunes from being bulldozed” by the billionaire was the right thing to do.
He added: “Mr Trump’s destructive anti-social behaviour, environmental vandalism and made-up claims have got to be challenged – silence is effectively acceptance.
“However, by repeatedly speaking out against Mr Trump’s actions, it does mean that now – applying the objective test – I can’t take part in the council process deciding on the application for housing.”
The planning application will go before councillors later this month, and a decision is expected to take place in January.
Sarah Malone, vice-president of Trump International Golf Links Scotland previously said: “Mr Ford has done nothing for the north-east of Scotland and should be ashamed of his conduct as an elected member.
“He is an embarrassment to the area, and has zero interest or understanding of economic development.”