DONALD Trump has withdrawn a planning application to build a second golf course at his Scottish development, raising fears he will walk away entirely from the project.
Residents and councillors say that the northeast of Scotland will be left in the "worst of all possible worlds" if the businessman abandons his plans, with important sand dunes disturbed with no major economic benefit for the area.
Mr Trump's company withdrew its application after losing a legal challenge against the Scottish Government's approval of an 11-turbine offshore wind farm test centre near his development at Menie, Aberdeenshire.
He has said he will appeal the Court of Session ruling and in the meantime will not invest a penny more in developing his golf resort. His focus will instead turn to the newly acquired Doonbeg course in Ireland.
The Scottish resort was to have comprised two 18-hole courses, a 450-room hotel, a golf clubhouse, a conference centre and spa, golf academy, holiday homes and golf villas. Some projections were for an investment of up to £1 billion and more than 4000 jobs. But to date, only one golf course and a temporary clubhouse have been built.
Martin Ford, the Aberdeenshire councillor who chaired the committee which first refused the Trump Organisation's initial planning application, said: "I do not ever expect to see the golf resort that Mr Trump planned for Menie."
Mr Ford said he always believed the figures projected for the development had been exaggerated. "But there is no doubt that a large golf resort would have created economic activity and employment," he said. "So the northeast of Scotland could have the worst of all possible worlds. We have lost our very important Site of Special Scientific Interest."
The only reward may yet be "just another 18-hole golf course", he said.
A spokesman for Aberdeenshire Council said last night: "We have been asked by the Trump Organisation to withdraw its recent application for a second golf course at the Menie estate. The organisation is, of course, welcome to submit further planning applications regarding the development in the future."