Councillors in the north-east of Scotland will decide shortly on an application to create another major golf resort in the region.
Developer Frank Burnett Ltd wants to build a £100 million resort based on the existing Inchmarlo golf course near Banchory, in the Deeside area. Aberdeenshire Council is to decide whether to approve the project in March. Planning officials have recommended rejection, but the council's area committee voted in favour of the project at a meeting on 15 February. The committee's decision is not binding on the full council.
Burnett chairman Stan Troup has pleaded with councillors to ignore the officials’ advice, implying that the council’s approval of Donald Trump’s Balmedie resort has set a new precedent. Trump’s project was initially voted down by the area committee of the council before being called in by the Scottish Executive, and later being granted permission.
Troup is being backed by Scottish Enterprise. In his letter to the council, he said: “The council has introduced an element of commercial judgment in the past with similar applications and must recognise that in doing so not only have they set a benchmark for leisure and tourism resorts, they have also created a precedent and must now be seen to be even-handed. This is a business that must always look to make the best use of its assets. As it looks to the future, it will have to compete against these resorts that the council has previously approved – and to do that it needs a level playing field, otherwise the future will be extremely difficult.”
The plan calls for the existing Laird course at Inchmarlo to be upgraded, and a 75 bedroom luxury hotel with associated culinary school, run by well-known Scottish chef Nick Nairn, to be built. Over 100 houses are also included in the planning application.