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Trump golf resort in legal challenge from 85-year-old

EDINBURGH: Donald Trump’s plan to build a £1 billion (RM5.76 billion) golf resort in northeast Scotland is being challenged in the courts by an 85-year-old woman who stands to lose her home as a result of his project.

Molly Forbes, who lives on land Trump wants to buy, filed papers with the Court of Session in Edinburgh challenging planning consents that were granted by Aberdeenshire Council, according to an e-mailed statement on Nov 23 from the Environmental Law Centre Scotland, a charity that provides legal advice. Forbes claims Trump failed to carry out the required environmental assessments.

“Mr Trump has been granted planning permission to demolish my home, but I do not wish to sell, and I do not wish to be forced out,” Forbes said in the statement. “I never expected in my life to face eviction from my home, let alone for a golf course.”

Trump’s proposed development on the Menie estate north of Aberdeen was the subject of a public inquiry last year when the Scottish government intervened after Aberdeenshire Council rejected the first application. In September, the municipality granted planning consent for five areas of land, including where Forbes lives. Trump may seek approval for compulsory purchase orders if Forbes and the other owners refuse to sell.

The Trump Organization has about six months to negotiate an agreement before it needs to apply to the municipality for the purchase orders to ensure it can start building houses at the resort in two years, Donald Trump Jr said in September.

Donald Trump, 63, said in a statement on Nov 23 that Forbes is “being used” by her son Michael, who has a “personal vendetta” against the project. The Trump Organization has followed the required planning and legal procedures, he said.

“Our applications have been the most scrutinised submissions in Scottish planning history and I am sure that the Aberdeenshire Council, which voted almost unanimously in support of them, is proud of their actions,” Trump said in the statement. The Forbes property is a “blight on the community” that would benefit from the cleanup required for the project, he said.

Trump wants to build two golf courses, a 450-room hotel, 500 homes and 950 short-term rental apartments on the 1,400-acre estate. Molly Forbes has lived on the Menie estate for six years. Originally, Trump said he didn’t need her land.

Menie is a sensitive environmental area, Frances McCartney, Forbes’s lawyer, said in their statement. “My client is disappointed that Aberdeenshire Council appear not to have followed the correct procedures and she has been forced to take this action,” McCartney said.

Forbes’s claim alleges that a meeting of the full council was required for some of the consents Trump received, rather than the approval of a local committee. – Bloomberg LP

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