Donald Trump’s north-east golf resort may never host The Open or the Ryder Cup if it goes ahead with plans for 500 homes at the site, it has been claimed.
An economic development boss at Aberdeenshire Council has issued the warning as he branded the proposals a “weak substitute” to the original vision for Menie Estate.
In his consultation response, local authority business development executive Douglas Rennie highlighted the multimillion pound boost that hosting The Open or the Ryder Cup would bring to the region.
But he added: “The current proposal would at least delay, and possibly exclude, the necessary infrastructure required to host such an event.”
Trump Aberdeen last night dismissed the remarks as “naive at best” and insisted that the scheme would “build on the international reputation of the golf course”.
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Earlier this year, Trump International Golf Links lodged plans for a £150 million expansion, with housing and hotel cottages being built alongside the green.
The development – known as The Trump Estate – would also include a gym, equestrian centre and space for shops and offices.
The proposals have split opinion, with supporters saying it would be a “lucrative” draw for visitors and a boost to the economy, but with thousands of others lodging objections.
In his response, Mr Rennie said the plan “fits well” with the regional economic strategy, including by bringing jobs and investment.
However, he added: “The previous planning application indicated that the phasing of the residential element would come after, and not before, the holiday accommodation.
“From an economic development perspective, the phasing of the development the other way round, is not so attractive.
“In light of the context, it is a weak substitute for what should be in this phase of the development. The infrastructure proposed in the 2007 application included 36 golf villas, a 450 bed hotel, and 950 holiday homes.”
Last night, a spokeswoman for Trump Aberdeen insisted that the new plan only represented a change to the phasing of the project, not what will eventually be delivered.
“Given the significant unknowns in the current economic content, any suggestion that a £150 million investment is not attractive or weak takes some believing. The remarks are naive at best,” she said.
“We are extremely confident that this next phase of development will further enhance the reputation of the site as an exemplar and world-class destination and will build on the international reputation of the golf course which is already ranked among the top courses in the world.”
The spokeswoman added: “Aberdeenshire Council acknowledges that the Trump development has, and will continue to, significantly contribute to the economic future of the region and that the development undertaken to date has had a positive impact on the north-east economy, particularly in relation to the tourism and hospitality sectors.
“This next phase of development will bring forward improvements to infrastructure, further leisure facilities, hotel cottages and lodges, and residential homes.
“The plans are entirely consistent with the original vision and objectives of the project, but also reflect the significant changes in the economy and markets which have evolved in the past 10 years since the council set out its preferences for phasing.
“The application represents a change to the phasing of the development rather than its content.”