Relief for residents: Donald Trump lifts threat of compulsory purchase orders

Donald Trump said he will ask for compulsory purchase orders not to be used against residents of the Menie Estate.

Families living around his planned £750m Scottish golf resort had been worried they could be ordered to leave their properties when the development gets underway.

But now the billionaire has said he will not ask the council to evict the residents in the wake of his new golf complex.

There are four properties under threat of being removed; Mill of Menie, Menie Fishing Station, Hermit Point and Leyton Cottage.

Previously Donald Trump refused to rule out the possibility of CPOs, especially when the locals refused to sell their properties. Taking out a CPO against the residents would have had to be agreed by councillors and, potentially, the Scottish Government.

However, now the American Tycoon has confirmed he would not seek to have the families removed. It is understood that no further offers will be made to the homeowners, meaning the development will now go ahead around them, with Mr Trump planning to use trees to screen them from the view of his golfers.

The Scottish Government granted Mr Trump permission to build two golf courses, a £250m hotel, 950 holiday homes and 500 houses in 2009.

However, Trump International said they have no interest in compulsory purchase and have never applied for it. They said: “We have not, and will not, request that Aberdeenshire Council use their CPO powers to purchase houses.

“The only reason CPO was even brought up by our opposition is that they have consistently lost on every other front and this is the only way for them to continue to gain free publicity on the back of the Trump name.”

But David Milne, one of the residents under threat, showed STV News the letters asking for a formal request for CPOs to be used from March 4, 2009.

Councillor Martin Ford said: "Mr Trump does appear, at last, to have ruled out using compulsory purchase to force his neighbours from their homes.

"This should be a day of real relief and joy for the families at Menie. The residents have run a principled and passionate campaign, they have been supported by the public both in Aberdeenshire and across the country, and it seems they have won.

"As for Mr Trump's claim that he has 'no interest in compulsory purchase and have never applied for it' that is downright untrue.

"Mr Trump's lawyers wrote to Aberdeenshire Council on 4 March, 2009 formally requesting the council 'to exercise its powers of compulsory purchase ... to acquire eight plots of land on behalf of Trump International Golf Links Scotland'. The eight properties are listed and include the homes of four families."

Robin Harper MSP, who jointly owns a plot of land at Menie, said: "This has been a long and unduly painful episode, and one that has revealed substantial flaws in the Scottish planning process.

"Scotland is nothing if its land and its people are not protected, and ministers have stood aside as Mr Trump has attempted to trample all over both.

"This has been a shameful saga, and it's not over yet."

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