Wed 26 May, 2010

For immediate release 26 May 2010

The Green MSPs welcomed today's announcement that Donald Trump's masterplan for the Menie Estate has been "bunkered" by the transfer of a plot of land to a large group of owners, and cannot now go ahead in its current form. In a poll carried out by the Scottish Greens last year, just 13% of Scots supported the compulsory purchases and evictions that would be required for the Trump project to go ahead, with 74% opposed, and a substantial majority of Scots now oppose the project overall. More than 16,000 people have also signed a petition to Aberdeenshire Council, urging them to protect local families from compulsory purchase, but the Council has so far refused to act.

Patrick Harvie MSP said:

"Mr Trump probably thought he was on the fairway now with a clear shot to the green, but his ball's in The Bunker and there's no way to get it out. Mr Trump might have the expensive lawyers, and he might have both Aberdeenshire Council and the Scottish Government in his pocket too. Local residents, however, have the public on their side, and The Bunker demonstrates that support.

"The rights of the community have meant nothing to him, and he will never understand why the environment must be protected. The prospect of losing a long and expensive legal battle will surely put him off, though. Local residents deserve closure and they need to know this bizarre proposal is now permanently dead.

"The history of this project is a blot on Scotland's public life. Officials have spent public money trying to woo a bullying billionaire and both Councillors and Ministers have shamefully bent the rules to serve his interests. When this is all over, and Mr Trump has admitted defeat, we will need a full public inquiry into what went so badly wrong in Aberdeenshire."

Aberdeenshire Councillor Martin Ford said:

"It was always going to be very wrong for the Council to use compulsory purchase orders against residents at Menie. In these new circumstances, it would also be suicidal for the Council to go down the compulsory purchase route, since that now comes with a guarantee of involvement in a lengthy legal battle with residents from across Aberdeenshire and beyond.

"Once again, I call on the Council to do what it should have done last year; make it 100 per cent clear to Mr Trump and to the affected residents that the Council will not accede to any request to evict families from their homes on the Menie estate. It is a disgrace that the Council has left residents in limbo all this time by refusing to say what it will do.

"I also call on Mr Trump, while he is here, to contact his neighbours and make clear to them that he recognises their right not to sell their home if they don't want to. Mr Trump needs to withdraw the threat of compulsory purchase, unambiguously and permanently. It is a very positive thing that people have come together to defend the basic human rights of others against a bullying developer and a spineless Council."

Angus Reid polled 1001 Scottish adults from 14-16 April 2010. Results are of those expressing a view.

Donald Trump is planning a luxury golf resort which his company says would bring jobs to Aberdeenshire, but his plans would require evicting local residents who do not wish to sell, and building on protected land. Do you support this project?

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