American billionaire Donald Trump’s plans for a £1 billion golf resort in Aberdeenshire have been given an initial thumbs up by the council.
Aberdeenshire Council’s Fortmartine area committee approved the application, by seven votes to four.
The scheme known as Trump International Golf Links is being designed by US firm Wimberley Allison Tong and Goo, as well as local architect Roger Laird from SMC Jenkins and Marr.
It will include two golf courses, a five-star hotel, a golf academy and nearly 1,000 holiday homes and 500 private dwellings.
It has been vehemently opposed by conservationists as well as design watchdog Architecture and Design Scotland, and even looked in doubt after a local farmer refused to move from his land.
There were particular concerns over the treatment of the sand dunes, allocated as a Special Site of Scientific Interest which Trump wants to utilise for his golf course.
However, the council is now minded to approve the scheme as Trump claims it will bring £60 million a year to the Scottish economy and create 6,000 jobs.
Final approval can only come from the Scottish Executive, but Trump already expects the golf courses to be in place by 2009.