Aberdeenshire councillors have approved plans for 500 houses at Trump International today.
A total of 2,918 objections were submitted to the proposals, one of which contained a petition with 18,722 names on it, but planning officers had recommended that permission be granted in principle.
Councillors agreed the project should be approved by 38 votes to 24.
The proposal for the land near Balmedie includes up to 500 houses and 50 holiday cottages alongside community facilities, shops, restaurants and supporting infrastructure.
Sarah Malone, the executive vice-president for Trump International Scotland, said “common sense had prevailed”, and argued that if there was a market in the north-east to build the five-star hotel that was originally in the plans, the Trump Organisation would “be the first ones to do it”.
She said: “This has been a very long planning process for this stage of the development.
“Today’s very strong recommendation is a clear endorsement by the north-east of Scotland that the Trump development to date is a success, and we want to build on that great foundation and bring forward the future phases of the site.
“We’re very confident that we have the resources and funds.
“Every stage of this process has been financed by the Trump organisation. We have no loans, no mortgages and no debt, and that is a matter of fact.”
Mid-Formartine councillor Jim Gifford, the leader of the council and Conservative group, was the first to speak during the discussions and put forward the motion to approve the plans.
He said: “I moved that we accept the officer’s recommendations.
“It is a significant departure from the local plan, and is very different from the application that was granted some 10 years ago, but as we heard very clearly today and at previous meetings time has moved on, and the situation has changed.
“The application in front of us is what we had to determine today, and I think the council made the right decision based on the information they had.”
Ellon and District councillor Richard Thomson, the leader of SNP group, put forward the amendment to refuse the application.
He argued that Aberdeenshire, and Scotland in general, is enjoying a period of relative prosperity, and lamented the loss of the large-scale hotel from the latest plans, which he said there was a market for in the north-east.
Mr Thomson said the original proposals “promised something transformational”, and added he believes the plans approved today are too much of a departure from what was originally put forward by the Trump Organisation.
He said: “What we were presented with was a significant departure from what was originally proposed, and that’s why I told the chamber that I believe we can do better than this.
“The development was phased in a very strict sequence for a reason, and I think it must now be considered a risk that we may not see all of the development delivered, no matter how strong he assurances from the applicant.”
The application was due to be considered earlier this year by the full Aberdeenshire Council but this was delayed after new information was submitted by Trump International Golf Links.
The development was part of the wider approved blueprint when the golf course was given consent back in 2008.
But since then, the Trump Organisation has been accused of breaking its promises by not building a second course and hotel, and instead moving forward a latter stage of its masterplan.
The developer denied it has reneged on its agreement, saying it has merely changed the phasing due to the “significant” economic unknowns.