Scottish Wildlife Trust & RSPB propose new course design for controversial Trump golf course
May 2008. New course design submitted to public inquiry by wildlife charities
A new course design specially commissioned by RSPB Scotland and the Scottish Wildlife Trust shows that Donald Trump can have his controversial golf course at Menie without damaging the vulnerable sand dunes on the SSSI.
Respected Scottish golf course architect Mike Wood was asked to show how a possible championship level course could be built without destroying the protected sand dunes at Foveran links which are an invaluable piece of natural heritage. His study (see fig 2 below) is now being submitted to the Public Inquiry - and Trump International Golf Links Scotland (TIGLS) are being urged to consider it as a potential way forward, having already indicated earlier this week they are after all willing to amend the course design (see fig 1).
RSPB Scotland, SWT and the Botanical Society of the British Isles are objecting jointly to the TIGLS proposal. They are all implacably opposed to any construction on the dunes at Menie Estate. However, should the Scottish Government decide to grant consent there are ways to limit the damage.
Anne McCall, head of planning with RSPB Scotland said: "The developers continually claimed that they could not change the course design, but have said this week that they might do so, to take account of environmental destruction. Rather than the minor tweak that their new indicative plans would mean, we hope that they will now agree with us that it's entirely possible for them to have a top golf course without building on the SSSI in the north or the sensitive dunes to the south. If the development goes ahead it will come at an environmental price but we can make that price smaller."
Step in the right direction
Jonny Hughes, Head of Policy at SWT said: "At the 11th hour, TIGLS appear to be beginning to grasp how environmentally damaging this golf course proposal really is. With their recent re-design they have taken a step in the right direction in at least acknowledging the national importance of the dynamic sand dunes of Menie Links. What we fail to understand is why they don't go one step further and move the whole course away from the SSSI. The new design by Mike Wood shows this is easily possible and that there is no excuse riding roughshod over planning policy and nature legislation by insisting on building part of the course on the protected area. If the course is relocated off the SSSI and the ‘sand dome' to the south of the site, SWT would withdraw its objection."
Mike Wood said: "I believe there is ample room on this site to accommodate a golf course designed to the highest modern standards without using the valuable mobile dunes. The more stable vegetated land is exactly where our best-known championship links courses were laid out in the past, and I believe it would be a mistake to depart from this traditional good sense here at Menie."