London, Nov 4 : New York-based billionaire businessman Donald Trump's contentious plans to transform a wild and windswept stretch of the Aberdeenshire coastline into an exclusive 1 billion pound golf resort have been approved by the Scottish Government.
Trump said he was "deeply honoured" by the decision, which follows a local planning inquiry.
Soon after Trump submitted his plans for a golf resort, he made clear that he expected officialdom's approval. With characteristic bluntness, the property billionaire told an interviewer: "I'm going to get it."
Some 18 months after he unveiled his proposal for "the world's greatest golf course" and launched a charm offensive that involved a visit in his personal Boeing 727 to bemused cousins in the Hebrides, the tycoon saw his prediction come true on Monday when the Scottish government gave the go-ahead to the controversial scheme.
John Swinney, the SNP Finance Secretary at Holyrood, declared that there was a "significant economic and social benefit" in the project, which includes two golf championship courses, a five-star hotel and hundreds of homes, as he overturned a previous decision to reject the plans and granted outline planning permission for the scheme.
Environmentalists, however, expressed dismay that approval had been given despite protests that the course will be partly built on protected sand dunes, The Independent reported
Conservationists claimed that the dunes on the Menie estate near Aberdeen, classified as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), would be destroyed by the development.
Trump still faces several difficulties before teeing off from his Aberdeenshire resort. Not least is Michael Forbes, the 55-year-old fisherman whose 23-acre farm sits in the middle of the development site. He has vowed to never sell up.