I have now recovered from a depressing day on Tuesday when my colleagues decided to grant planning permission for Trump to extend the resort to include 5 new areas.
For clarity, as it is difficult for most people to understand what this is all about - and quite properly much of the focus is the threat via Compulsory Purchase to people's homes - I will try to explain why I moved rejection of the five permissions.
Overall there were two reasons for refusal
1. failure of applicant to show how the addition of the site would improve the masterplan for the resort.
This was purely an assertion by Trump. Architecture and Design Scotland said they could not comment as they had not seen any Masterplans and the council's planner oddly missed reporting the views of this vital consultee, charged with overseeing the masterplanning process. A masterplan was released by Trump on 28th August but this has not been agreed nor widely discussed.
2. failure to demonstrate any ADDITIONAL benefits to the wider public for the inclusion of the land
And individually for the sites:
A. Leyton Farm - loss of farmland: lack of environmental assessment
B. Hermit Point - lose of residential accommodation, lost of historic building, no demonstration that there was a conflict in continuing current use or issues with access.
C. Leyton Cottage - loss of residential accommodation and no demontration that there would be a conflcit in continiung current use or issues with access.
D. Menie Fishing Station/Mill of Menie - loss of residential accommodation and loss of farmland, lack fo environmental assessment.
E. Council owned land in the dunes last used as car park - loss of opportunity for public access.
I was pretty confident about the compatibility of use for Hermit Point and Leyton Cottage as the applicant oddly did not also apply to extend the resort into Coastguard Cottages which should logically have simil;ar issues. The Chair of the meetings stopped me from questioning the applicant's agent on why this was so but I have heard comments that it was no co-incidence that those targeted for the planning permissions and thence the CPOs are those who are unwilling to sell.
Low point of meeting : Cllr Isobel Davidson saying that she was supporting the grant so that the residents could "move on". Isobel - if you spoke to our constituents, you would understand they have no wish to move on and away.
Update: 3rd October. I have an apology to make here. Isobel - you spoke very clearly on 1st October saying that your were in principle against the use of CPOs at for the properties in question. Thank you for that and I have removed further comment regarding this. I am sorry I misinterpreted you.
High point : Cllr Rob Merson saying that landownership must be resolved on the basis of "willing buyer, willing seller". Well done to Rob for being the first SNP councillor to give an indication of their views on the CPO. Shame on the rest for not saying.
UPDATE (Friday and Saturday)
Rob Merson has taken exception to my comments regarding him. Please see Comments for his emails to me and my response. I have invited him to post comments here to set the record straight.
Paul Johnston has blogged on this topic.