Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Alonso Hawk

Those of a certain age, whose children grew up with Herbie, that annoying little self-drive Volkswagen, might remember the lustful and greedy developer who wanted to demolish the fire station that was holding up his latest money-making development scheme - and tried all sorts of dirty tricks to get his way. Ring any bells, perhaps? Is there more than a passing similarity with Donald Trump, the lugubrious American developer behind moves to build two golf courses, 500 rich people's houses, 950 holiday homes and a hotel on the sand dunes of the Menie Estate, north of Aberdeen. Mr Trump got his way - and the chair of Aberdeenshire Planning Committee's head - in being granted planning permission in the first place, then found that there were bits of land he wanted to add to his empire that folk were not willing to sell - at any price. Trump made all sorts of cheap derogatory remarks about these people who valued what they have owned for many years and didn't want to let go. The next card he played was to submit a planning application to add four houses and two plots of land that he didn't own to his overall plan - something anyone is at liberty to do, though in the knowledge that gaining the permission will normally add more to the cost of subsequently purchasing same. Trump says he has made 'generous offers' to the owners, but by all reports, the figures seem ordinary to say the least. And now he is playing his trump card - asking Aberdeenshire Council to use compulsory purchase powers 'as a last resort' to secure the land on his behalf.
This is due to be debated later this week - but it would be to the eternal shame of any council should it vote to use compulsory purchase powers in order to benefit the commercial interests of any private business - whether American or not. If the council has any honour at all left in this sorry tale, it will resoundingly reject such a proposition. If Trump wants to buy these properties, nothing less than an offer they can't refuse will be acceptable. Alonso Hawk needs to remain a work of fiction. Trump must grow up and stop treating people who have lived on Menie all their lives as brainless serfs with no rights.

No comments:

Post a Comment