By Graeme Murray
Council chiefs have approved plans to build 550 homes at Donald Trump’s golf resort in Aberdeenshire.
The Trump Organisations’s blueprint for the development at the course on the Menie Estate, Balmedie was passed on Thursday morning despite almost 3000 objections.
The proposal for up to 550 houses, golf villas and other community facilities, including a town hall, were given the go-ahead by Aberdeenshire Council.
The move follows the backing of US President’s plans for a second golf course which were approved on Tuesday despite fears for the environment.
The development proposals, however, were described as “significant departure” from the authority’s development plan.
Planning permission in principle has been given for the site which will be developed in eight phases.
But full planning permission has been given to some parts of the first phase which will include nearly 80 homes, a 34-bedroom hotel, six retail units, a gym, fitness centre and town hall.
More than 2900 objections were received by the authority in response to the plans.
The application was passed by 38 out of 62 councillors.
The approval came despite criticism the scheme deviated from the original plans for the site, which included a 450-bedroom hotel as part of the first phase of the luxury golf resort.
The hotel has not been built, with accommodation limited to 21 rooms at MacLeod House, named after his mother Mary Anne Macleod and an accompanying lodge.
Of the 550 houses agreed, 50 are designated holiday units and 500 a mixture of private residences, rental properties and holiday homes.
The authority recommended the approval of the application and said would “still result in development that will provide economic and social benefit to the local area and region”.
Councillor Martin Ford, a strong critic of Trump, did not take part in the vote, saying his previously voiced views would exclude him from taking part.
The controversial coastal development was approved after Scottish ministers called in the original planning application and granted approval in 2008.