Councillors have approved the Trump Organisation’s plans to build 550 homes in Aberdeenshire.

The developer has been given the green light to construct the homes plus retail and leisure facilities at Menie Estate, home of Trump International Golf Links, which is owned by the US president.

The application was passed by 38 out of 62 councillors who voted at a meeting in Aberdeen on Thursday.

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Trump Estate in BalmedieCouncillors are handed Trump Estate brochures in the council chambers of Aberdeenshire Council (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Approval came despite criticism the scheme deviated from the original plans for the site, which included a 450-bedroom hotel as part of the first phase of the luxury golf resort.

The hotel has not been built, with current tourist accommodation limited to 21 rooms at MacLeod House and an accompanying lodge.

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Of the 550 houses agreed, 50 are designated holiday units and 500 a mixture of private residences, rental properties and holiday homes.

The council’s planning committee recommended the application for approval, however, stating it would “still result in development that will provide economic and social benefit to the local area and region”.

Trump Estate in BalmedieCouncillor Martin Ford abstained from the vote (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Councillor Martin Ford, a strong critic of Donald Trump, did not take part in the vote, saying his previously voiced views would exclude him from taking part.

The controversial coastal development was approved after Scottish ministers called in the original planning application and granted approval in 2008.

Plans for a second golf course on the Menie Estate near Balmedie were approved by Aberdeenshire councillors on Tuesday.