Unlikeliest eco-warrior as 85-yr-old Scottish widow takes on Donald Trump

by Search Gate staff. Published Mon 23 Nov 2009 11:57, Last updated: 2009-11-23
"Mr Trump should know that I will never give up," warns Molly

The might of the Trump Corporation is being challenged by a Scottish pensioner who is refusing to be evicted from her home to make way for a luxury golf course development.

Widow Molly Forbes, 85, has today lodged papers with the Court of Session in Edinburgh seeking an interim interdict against the latest permissions to be granted regarding the Menie Golf Course, being developed by Trump Golf Links Scotland.

She is looking to overturn five planning permissions Aberdeenshire Council granted in September in relation to areas of land that Trump's developers had previously indicated would not be needed to be built on.

The local authority has also since granted permission for the planting of marram grass - effectively starting work on the golf course itself.

The grounds of challenge are that Aberdeenshire Council did not follow correct procedures in determining the applications, did not follow European law by requiring environmental assessments of some of the permissions and did not consider impacts in nearby sites designated for conservation.

In addition, Mrs Forbes' legal papers cite as inadequate the information given by the developer as to why the additional areas are now required.

Mrs Forbes, who has lived in her home on the Menie Estate for six years, said: "Mr Trump has been granted planning permission to demolish my home, but I do not wish to sell, and I do not wish to be forced out.

“My legal team will argue that Aberdeenshire Council have failed to follow correct procedures, and that the permissions granted therefore cannot stand.

"This is a major development by anyone's standards, including the formal standards set by the local authority, and as such they were obliged to refer decisions to the full Council. They have failed in this obligation, and in their rush to allow the project to go ahead they have grievously let down local residents.

"I never expected in my life to face eviction from my home, let alone for a golf course, This is not a battle I would ever have sought, but Mr Trump and Aberdeenshire Council should know that I will never give up, and I urge them to think again."

The plucky pensioner is being represented by Frances McCartney of the Environmental Law Centre Scotland, who said: "Mrs Forbes is understandably concerned about the impact on her local environment these permissions would lead to. Furthermore, if the Council's decision goes unchallenged, she fears that the next stage will be for compulsory purchase orders to be granted over her home.

"Menie is a sensitive environmental area and these are sensitive applications. My client is disappointed that Aberdeenshire Council appear not to have followed the correct procedures and she has been forced to take this action."

Members of the Scottish Green Party welcomed today's legal action saying it would provide an opportunity to hear the local residents' voice.

Patrick Harvie MSP said: "It's hard to imagine a course of action so heartless that it forces a lady in her 80s to take legal action. Her environment is under threat from the Trump development, and so too is her home, while her right to compassionate representation has not been met by the leadership of Aberdeenshire Council. It takes a courageous and determined person to make a stand of this sort.

"This case could be an opportunity for both sides, a chance to look at these plans afresh and perhaps for Mr Trump to compromise for the first time. If he will not, we will have to rely on the courts to protect the rights of local residents."

Councillor Debra Storr, one of the four local Councillors who represents Molly Forbes, said: "It was clear that the planning process which oversaw these applications was flawed from the outset, and I sought at the time to persuade the Council simply to follow the rules.

“Local residents on the Menie Estate deserve to be fairly treated just like everyone else, and I do not believe they have been. Whatever the outcome of this case, I will do everything in my power to help those who do not wish to be evicted, and to support their efforts to stay in their own homes."

Although outline planning permission was granted in 2008 by the Scottish Ministers following a public inquiry, the developers cannot start work under that permission until a number of conditions are met, including that a Masterplan is approved by the planning authority.

According to the Environmental Law Centre work can only start immediately if the developers submitted an application for full planning permission for the planting of marram grass, preparatory earthworks and the erection of fencing on the dunes at Menie.

In relation to the outline planning permission for five additional sites, Mr Trump is believed to have indicated in his evidence to the public inquiry that he had sufficient land to implement his development, and has stated so on the record in the past.

An application has been made by the developers to Aberdeenshire Council that the Council use their powers of compulsory purchase to obtain the additional land for the development, including the homes of nine residents.

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Comments about Unlikeliest eco-warrior as 85-yr-old Scottish widow takes on Donald Trump

Don't let that creep Trump get away with taking her land. We hate Trump here in America.
Jane Smith, USA around 4 years, 1 month ago
Go Molly, the new Queen of Scots!
Bob Sprockett, Scotland around 4 years, 1 month ago

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