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Trump wary of building hotel next to ‘junkyard’, says son

Donald Trump has concerns about building a five-star hotel by the golf course he is developing near Aberdeen while it overlooks what his son has described as a “junkyard” and a barn covered in “slanderous language”.

However, the owner of the property which stands in Trump’s way, Michael Forbes, has rejected the criticisms and insisted there is no way he would ever sell his land to the American billionaire.

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Mr Forbes’s house on the Menie Estate, near Balmedie, is under threat from a compulsory purchase order to ensure the businessman’s plans can go ahead.

Mr Forbes, who combines working in a quarry with salmon fishing and farming, has denied defaming the developer.

He said: “All there is on the side of my barn is ‘No golf course’ and ‘no more Trump lies’.”

Donald Trump junior joined the attack on Mr Forbes during a briefing in which he stressed funding is in place to complete the £750 million golf and leisure facility his father dreams of building on the Aberdeenshire coastline.

The controversial development will encroach on an area of rolling dunes. It will include world class golf facilities, a five-star hotel and around 1500 apartments and houses.

“I think, fortunately, we have been much less affected by other people (amid the property market downturn) because we’ve been able to do a lot of projects where we’ve lent our name, as opposed to a direct capital contribution,” he said.

“This project we have funded every penny of it out of our own pockets... we haven’t had to go to banks. I guess that, over a five-year process, to put in this kind of money into a development out of our own pockets probably is about the strongest statement you could make.”

Mr Trump junior said he was delighted work had finally started on the championship course that will form the centrepiece of the scheme.

Contractors started work in July soon after Mr Trump senior won planning consent for the course, five years after he first visited the site.

However, his son is concerned the success of the luxury hotel that is a key part of the proposed scheme may be jeopardised so long as Mr Forbes leads opposition to it from his land.

“He is going to be more reluctant about building a five-star hotel overlooking someone who spraypaints the side of his barn with slanderous language, has a junkyard in his backyard of rusting machinery.

“That wouldn’t make economic sense.” Although Mr Forbes has been dismissed as ‘an idiot’ by Mr Trump senior, Mr Trump junior indicated that the 58-year-old may yet force the family to modify its plans.

“There’s investments all over the world and he could put money here or somewhere else, it’s very difficult to justify with a hostile neighbour. So that will still come under consideration, we will have to play that out when the time comes.”

However, a key Trump aide, George Sorial, insisted that the efforts of Mr Forbes and other opponents of the scheme were bound to end in failure.

Hundreds have signed up to buy a share of a piece of land formerly owned by Mr Forbes in the hope of frustrating any attempt to clear the scheme using a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO).

Similar tactics were used by opponents of the proposed building of a third runway at Heathrow Airport.

“They have had no impact on the project thus far, nor will they have any impact going forward,” he said.

“Those methods failed at Heathrow and they’re certainly not going to work here.”

Mr Sorial noted that CPOs had been used by authorities across the world to advance schemes for many years.

Mr Trump junior made plain his frustration with the continued opposition of environmental activists to a scheme that champions say will bring huge benefits to north-east Scotland.

“I think this has been the most environmentally scrutinised project in perhaps the history of Europe.

“We’ve brought in the best consultants, both local and international, to make sure we were in compliance because we were under a very fine microscope.

“I think an ordinary developer would not have attracted the same kind of attention because it would not be the appropriate soap box for them to make a name for themselves in the environmental world.”

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