12th December 2007

Donald Trump granted permission for golf complex

Donald Trump’s plans for a golf complex, on a 570-hectare site at Balmedie had been in doubt until the Scottish Executive stepped in. Aberdeenshire council had previously refused the developer’s application to build two courses, a five-star hotel, 1000 holiday homes, half as many private homes, and a golf academy, at a total cost of around £2bn.

However, it changed its mind after the Scottish government intervened because, according to The Guardian of 12 December 2007 – the day on which it was approved – “the project was too important to be dealt with by a local council”. One week earlier, Trump, who would later be elected the 45th president of the United States, had threatened to move the project to Northern Ireland.

Local opposition

Trump had bought the land on which the complex was to be built in 2006, and there had been opposition to the development from some local groups, in part because they were worried about any risk of damage to nearby sand dunes. The 4000-year-old dunes had been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

Following the plan’s approval, construction could begin. The first sod was laid in 2010, and the course opened in July 2012. In 2014, Trump bought Turnberry golf course in Ayrshire, and in October 2020 he was granted permission to build a second course at Balmedie, to be called the MacLeod course, in memory of Trump’s mother, Mary Anne MacLeod.

MacLeod, had been born in Tong, Lewis, in 1918, and raised there, but emigrated to New York in 1930, when she was 18 years old. There, she met property developer Frederick Trump and they married six years after she had left Scotland. Donald Trump, her fourth child, was born in 1946. When he became president in 2017, he still had three cousins living in Lewis.



Other events that occured in December

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