Edinburgh, Scotland — Authorities have given real estate tycoon Donald Trump permission to expand the site of a luxury golf resort he is building on a stretch of Scottish coast despite fierce opposition from local residents.
The Aberdeenshire council voted Tuesday to let Trump develop an extra 50 acres surrounding the proposed site of the $1.6 billion golf course if he can persuade the people living there to sell the land.
Trump said he wants to buy the land to improve the design of the resort.
If residents refuse to sell, Trump can go to court to obtain a compulsory purchase order that would force residents to sell him their land, but Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr. said after the meeting that his father wants to negotiate directly with the people involved.
Resident Michael Forbes, who has been a vocal opponent of Trump’s plans, said he would fight to keep his property.
“I sincerely hope this goes to compulsory purchase, because it will drag through the courts for years,” he said. Forbes has refused an offer of $565,000 to sell his family’s run-down farm.
Another resident, David Milne, also said he would not sell to Trump.
“My home is not for sale, I have already told Mr. Trump’s people this,” he told reporters after the meeting. “I intend to leave my home in a horizontal box, not at the behest of Mr. Trump.”
Trump has waged a long-running battle against environmentalists and residents over his plans to build what he claims will be “the world’s greatest golf course.”
Residents and conservationists argue that a course should not be built on a stretch of shifting sand dunes that are home to some of the country’s rarest wildlife, including skylarks and otters. That area had previously been protected from development.
Local authorities originally had rejected his application, but their decision was overturned last year by the Scottish government. The resort is expected to have two championship courses, a 450-room hotel and 500 luxury houses.