Donald Trump is demanding more rights than the Queen, a top Ramblers’ spokesman claimed today.
The American multimillionaire wants more privacy for his Menie golfing complex than that enjoyed by the royal family at Balmoral. He also displays little understanding of Scotland’s right-to-roam laws. The claim was due to be made today by Ramblers’ Association Scotland director Dave Morris in evidence to the public inquiry into the Trump plans.
Donald Trump is proposing to build a major golf resort on the internationally important sand dunes at Menie, north of Aberdeen. The hearing into his application has been in session for a fortnight.
Today was the turn of the Ramblers’ Association to make its submission to the inquiry, chaired by James McCulloch.
Mr Morris director of the RA in Scotland, a former officer for the Nature Conservancy Council, was due to put the case against the golf development.
He said: “It is astonishing that Donald Trump came to the opening day of this inquiry, and appeared to display little knowledge of Scotland’s right to roam legislation.
“He appeared to believe that he could establish a gated housing and leisure development with security personnel to keep the public out. Neither did he appear to understand that the public have access rights across any part of the proposed golf course, apart from the greens, so long as they do not interfere with people playing golf.”
The Ramblers’ Association evidence even pointed out that people would still be expected to be able to go sledging on the site in winter and hold picnics in the sand dunes in the summer, even if a golf course were established there.
The RA director continued: “The Trump Organisation needs to understand that right-to-roam legislation, passed by the Scottish Parliament, provides the Scottish people and all our visitors with rights of access to land and water which are of world class quality.
“These rights must not be undermined by any real-estate developer, however important and well connected. A recent court judgement has confirmed that the public cannot be kept out of estate land by excessive security measures.”
The reference was to the failed Euan Snowie bid to keep the public out of 40 acres of land at his Boquhan estate in Stirlingshire.
Mr Morris contrasted the Trump Organisation’s attitude to public access with those of the royal estate and Harrods owner Mohammed al Fayed.
“Right to roam applies to most of Scotland’s land and water, including the Queen’s Balmoral Estate and Mohammed al Fayed’s Balnagowan Estate. If these landowners are comfortable with right to roam then Donald Trump has no business seeking greater privacy on his land, whatever his ambitions.”
The Land Reform (Scotland) Act, and the accompanying Scottish Outdoor Access Code, grant the right of passage over all golf courses, providing that those taking access do not interfere with play and keep off the greens.
Much of the evidence supplied by the RA points out the difficulty of maintaining public access along the proposed golf links without this conflicting with players, particularly among the sand dunes, where sight lines would be restricted by the terrain.