Fears have been raised over the impact of a second golf course at Donald Trump’s north-east resort after planning officers recommended the scheme for approval.
Trump International Golf Links opened in 2015 after a long-running, bitter dispute – with repeated concerns raised over the impact it would have on the nearby sand dunes.
The blueprint for the resort at Menie, near Balmedie – approved in 2008 – always included a second 18-hole golf course along with housing, holiday homes and leisure facilities.
The application for 550 of the properties is still progressing through Aberdeenshire Council.
Now members of the Formartine area committee are being asked to back proposals for the second golf course, which will be named after Mr Trump’s mother, Mary Macleod.
When the proposals were first lodged in 2015, more than 30,000 people signed a petition to block the Macleod Course.
A total of 18 objections have been lodged against the scheme, with no letters of support submitted to Aberdeenshire Council.
Concerns raised included loss of animals and habitats, increased risk of flooding and impact of on the surrounding residents.
Dr Mark Young, a professor at Aberdeen University, is noted in the committee report warning that the loss of coastal land would be severe.
He stated: “The construction of the golf course will lead inevitably to a direct loss of much of these areas, leaving only an insignificant and unsustainably narrow coastal zone behind the main dune ridge.
“No mitigation can sufficiently reduce this impact and if approved there will be a significant loss of an important semi-natural area.”
In his report, director of infrastructure services Stephen Archer acknowledges the course is not on a site of special scientific interest (SSSI) but is of “equal quality” to the neighbouring one and contains several important habitats and protected species.
However, backing it for approval he pointed out that it fits the local development plan, and added: “It will contribute towards the significant social and economic benefits expected to be delivered by the wider proposals within the Menie Estate.”
Mr Archer has recommended that a number of conditions be attached to the consent – such as the implementation of flood deterrent measures, that a local wildlife survey is carried out and additional parking and paths are included.
Executive vice president for Trump International Scotland, Sarah Malone, said: “We have already built what is widely recognised as being one of the greatest golf courses in the world and have delivered on our promise to create an internationally-renowned links that draws tens of thousands of golfers and visitors.
“The second golf course, designed to the same world-class standards, will be a tremendous addition to the site. We remain fully committed to delivering on our original vision, despite the many obstacles that have been thrown at us.”