Donald Trump has been saying all along that his Golf Resort development at the Menie Estate at Balmedie is meant to help the local community. Yet having failed to reach a negotiated settlement to encourage the neighbours to sell up he has applied for compulsory purchase orders. He really does think he can throw his weight around, but then he has already used influence to flaunt his way around UK planning procedure once already to get to this stage.
Martin Ford has placed a motion before Aberdeenshire Council which calls on them not to use compulsory purchase powers to force residents from their own homes on or adjacent to the Menie Estate. He adds:
"It must be very stressful for residents living with the anxiety caused by this threat to their homes. The council owes it to them to end the uncertainty.
"The other reason for tabling the notice of motion is to ensure the council discusses this matter in public.
"This decision is such a crucial one, concerning as it does basic rights important to us all, that it must be taken in public.
"A debate and vote in public will ensure that those directly affected by the decision can be present when it is taken, if they wish."
Some of the commenters on the Press and Journal article are likening Trump's approach to the Highland Clearances, a rich landlord is looking to forcibly more residents off his land and even that adjoining it to have his own way. He is seeking to use the full authority of the law to bring it to be, whilst claiming it is for the best of everyone.
Development director George Sorial while saying he was 'shocked and surprised' by Mr Ford’s motion added:
"Compulsory purchase powers are reserved for the council. It’s a process we would rather avoid. For him to take a position like this when we have a live application creates an extreme risk of prejudice."
Sadly by not ruling it out maybe people will understand just why the original planning committee was tied when discussing the application. There were issues of environment and local residents that were of concern. Martin Ford's casting vote was to look out for those varied concerns when they themselves could not come to a clear decision. The fall out has been great and the council still have not learnt the lesson to listen to the public opinion, too busy eying their corporate perks no doubt when the new links course is finally opened.