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Trump predicts 'lovefest' with the community near Turnberry

DONALD TRUMP has moved to quell fears that buying the Turnberry golf resort will lead to friction by declaring that his stewardship will be a "lovefest" with the local community.

RETURN: Donald Trump has changed his mind about Scotland.
RETURN: Donald Trump has changed his mind about Scotland.

The American billionaire raised eyebrows in the sport and among people living in South Ayrshire last week when he purchased the hotel and Open golf championship course in a deal worth £56 million from its Dubai-based owners.

Mr Trump's previous involvement in Scotland at the Menie Estate in Aberdeenshire led to battles with residents over the redevelopment of the dunes and the Scottish Government over plans for an offshore windfarm that the businessman claimed would spoil the view from his course.

When news broke of his takeover, local SNP MSP Adam Ingram described Mr Trump as "not the most community minded person", something which he refuted. Menie resident David Milne warned that anyone dealing with the tycoon should keep their wits about them.

But yesterday the flamboyant developer launched the first salvo of a charm offensive aimed at getting the doubters on side, saying that he would do his utmost to woo people to his cause.

He told the Ayr Advertiser: "I get along with the communities. The people over there are going to love us. It's going to be a lovefest.

"What people don't realise is that we had a 93% popularity rate among people surveyed in Aberdeenshire. In fact they had a thing called the Trump factor. Business is booming since we went there. People are coming from all over the world to play the course."

Much has been made over a possible name change for the resort, but Mr Trump said: "I haven't decided over the name yet.

"Turnberry is an important part of the name but we have not decided whether we are going to add Trump to the name."

Asked whether Trumpberry was a possibility, he replied with a resounding "no".

The purchase of Turnberry represents a change of heart after Mr Trump said three months ago he was turning his back on Scotland after losing a legal battle to block the windfarm develop-ment off Aberdeenshire.

However, Mr Trump laughed off the controversy saying he did not expect similar rows to blow up at his new acquisition.

He said: "These windmills are a disaster and in fact they are an expensive form of energy.

"I can't imagine that the Scottish Government would allow it to happen at Turnberry.

"Can you imagine looking out past that beautiful lighthouse and seeing these ugly windmills?"

Turnberry is home to six restaurants and a spa and will continue to be managed by Starwood Hotels and Resorts. It sits on more than 800 acres of land and has views of Arran and the Irish Sea.

Mr Trump is expected to fly in to Scotland on Tuesday night and will spend a few days at the latest addition to his portfolio, which already includes courses in the US, Ireland and the Middle East.

He said: "I've played Turnberry five times over the years. It's one of my favourite courses.

"The courses will be maintained to the highest level. I'll do nothing at all without approval from the Royal and Ancient - they really are a terrific organisation.

"The hotel needs to have money invested in it and we are prepared to do that.

"When complete, I think the hotel will be one of the great hotels of the world. We are going to do a great job."

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