US PROPERTY tycoon Donald Trump has been given the go-ahead to develop a controversial £1bn golf resort in Scotland.
The complex will feature a luxury hotel to compliment two new championship golf courses.
Following lengthy debate, councillors finally gave the businessman the all clear to build what he says will be the "greatest golf course in the world".
At a public meeting on Monday night (November 19) Aberdeenshire council`s Formartine area committee approved the application for Trump International Golf Links, Scotland, by seven votes to four.
Along with the golf courses and hotel, the complex will also house a golf academy, almost 1,000 holiday homes and 500 private houses. It will be built on a 566-hectare site near Balmedie, Aberdeenshire.
Following the decision, Trump described the councillors` decision as a "tremendous victory", adding: "I`m feeling great, very happy. I`m honoured."
The application was the culmination of four years of work by the Trump team. Supporters of the plan claim it will bring £60m a year to the Scottish economy, creating around 6,000 jobs.
Geoff Runcie, the chief executive of Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce, welcomed the decision. "The scale of the economic prize resulting from this investment fits well within the region`s economic ambition," he said.
However, there has been strong opposition from environmentalists and some local residents, who are concerned that part of the project will be built on a site of special scientific interest and have voiced fears over its potential impact on sand dunes.
There were also questions about the need for 500 private houses, which does not form part of Aberdeenshire council`s local plan.
A spokesman for the Scottish Wildlife Trust said the advice provided by the organisation had been "completely ignored". "If the plan proceeds in its current form, this development will destroy one of the top five dune habitats in the whole of Britain," he added.
Final approval for the plans lies with the Scottish government. Trump hopes to have the resort completed by 2012.