It’s not every day that a billionaire real estate mogul gets walloped by a crew of elderly country folk. But that’s what happened in Scotland this week when a local council committee in Aberdeenshire rejected Donald Trump’s plan to build two championship golf courses, around 1,000 homes, a luxury hotel and 36 opulent golfing villas on Scotland’s Northeast coast at Balmedie, just north of Aberdeen.
Donald Trump: Scuttled in Scotland
The Donald’s confidence was high having seen an earlier panel agreed to the plan. He has been quoted as saying: “It will the greatest golf course in the world.” But he probably didn’t expect the level of controversy the development would stir up. Environmental groups and some local residents claimed that the resort would have a major impact on wildlife and destroy the local landscape, which had been untouched for centuries. As opposition built, requests were made to scale down the residential aspect of the development. But Trump wouldn’t budge, making it clear from the start that there was no room for negotiation on the plan.
It has been speculated that Trump’s brash business style, alternatively described as 'patronizing' and 'arrogant,' didn’t go down well in this corner of Scotland either.
But there were plenty of locals gunning for the project as well. Such was the emotion around this vote that an Aberdeenshire councillor who voted against the plan says she was assaulted at her home after the vote by a local Trump supporter.
Trump now has three options: to sell the land, lodge a new planning application or submit an appeal. Given the indignation expressed by his team after the decision, the whole project may be abandoned. Trump's project manager, George Sorial, was reportedly visibly angry after the decision and threatened to take the whole development to another country, telling Reuters, “The message is that if you want to do big business, don't do it in the north-east of Scotland.”