Donald Trump is facing an uphill struggle to win approval for a second golf course on the Aberdeenshire coast amidst mounting concerns from councillors and the public.

The Trump international organisation has applied for planning permission for an 18-hole golf course alongside the course built at Menie, after much controversy. But the plan is already running into fierce opposition.

Critics argue that Trump is now an “international pariah” with a brand so toxic it can only damage the reputation of Aberdeenshire. They suggest that the political centre of gravity of the council now probably swings against Trump - as supporters of the president's business ventures are no longer part of the council.

Council planners have yet to give their verdict on the application, but it could end up being decided in the next few months. It is not yet clear whether it will be considered by the local area committee, or the full council.

The veteran Trump opponent, Aberdeenshire councillor Martin Ford, pointed out that nearly half the 70 Aberdeenshire councillors joined the council last year, and others were first elected in 2012. “The large majority of current Aberdeenshire councillors have never had to decide whether to give Mr Trump their support in a formal vote,” he said.

"Many of Mr Trump's committed supporters have left the council. New councillors, not tied to supporting Mr Trump by their own past, will be able to take a decision based on the evidence of the position today.”

Ford thought it was impossible for anyone to predict right now how the decision on the second golf course might go. “I certainly don't think, this time, the outcome is a foregone conclusion,” he said.

The Scottish Government gave Trump planning permission to destroy a wildlife site by building his first golf course in 2008 in the belief that the economic benefits would outweigh the environmental losses. But promised plans for the second course, a 450-bed hotel and nearly 1,500 homes have yet to be built.

So far the Trump organisation has invested £100 million in the development though it says there’s more to come. As well as the first course, it has built a clubhouse, a 16-bedroom “boutique” hotel and some lodges.

“The economic benefits Mr Trump promised he would bring to the area 12 years ago have not materialised,” said Ford. “So what was believed by some back in 2007 should now be believed by no-one,” Ford told the Sunday Herald.

The other argument back in 2007 was the area’s standing in the world would be enhanced by Trump’s global reputation. “But in 2018 Mr Trump is an international pariah, with a dreadful reputation for lies, misogyny and racism,” Ford stated.

“Far from being a boost, association with or support for Mr Trump is clearly a damaging embarrassment - and who wants that?”

Over 32,000 people have backed a petition by the digital campaign group, 38 Degrees, to stop the second golf course. "It's clear that there is very strong and growing public opposition in Scotland and Aberdeenshire to the plans for the new Trump course," said Stewart Kirkpatrick, the group’s head in Scotland.

“In the past ten years, Donald Trump has become an even more controversial figure, who has made public comments about women and minorities which are simply repellent. Does Aberdeenshire Council want to be associated with this man?”

Ramblers Scotland has criticised the planning application for showing “a fundamental misunderstanding” of the basis on which public access to land is taken in Scotland. “We felt that the design should take account of existing well-established informal paths through the area,” said the group’s campaigns & policy manager, Helen Todd.

The government’s wildlife agency, Scottish Natural Heritage, has expressed concerns about coastal erosion caused by climate change. The Scottish Environment Protection Agency has withdrawn its objections about waste water handling after changes made by the developer.

Trump’s executive vice president in Scotland, Sarah Malone, argued that the second golf course had outline planning permission “The council is simply being asked to approve the detail of what we intend to build,” she said.

“In Scots Law planning decisions are based on land use issues only. The planning authority cannot make a planning decision based on the identity of the applicant. Whilst Cllr Ford may have long-held personal views about President Trump, they are irrelevant to the planning process.”

She added: “This project is a long-term, multi-phased development that will be built over many years. The championship golf course is already ranked among the top 50 golf courses in the world and has put golf in the north east on the global map, bringing significant economic benefits to the tourism industry.

“For the full economic potential of the project to be realised, the planning process needs to continue. At a time when this region is so heavily focused on the diversification of its economy, the Trump investment and future plans have never been more critical.”

Aberdeenshire Council said the second golf course was “a stand-alone full planning application and the outline planning permission is a material consideration in the assessment of the current application. “The allocation in the Aberdeenshire local development plan 2017 also includes a second golf course,” said a council spokesman.