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Salmon Fisherman Takes On Donald Trump


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Salmon fisherman takes on Donald Trump

US billionaire Donald Trump is a man who usually gets what he wants, but a Scottish salmon fisherman is standing firm against his plans to build a luxury golf course resort.

Trump wants to build two championship courses, a 450-bedroom hotel and 950 holiday homes on land near Balmedie, just north of the city of Aberdeen, in northeast Scotland.

But Michael Forbe's ramshackle farm lies slap bang in the middle of the proposed second hole and the site of a planned eight-storey five-star hotel – and the 55-year-old is refusing to be bought out.

The row has echoes of the cult 1983 film Local Hero, in which an astronomy-obsessed US oil billionaire earmarks a picturesque Scottish fishing village as the site of a new oil and gas development.

In the film, locals are happy to cash in, but a wily, beach-dwelling hermit refuses to sell. The boss's right-hand man, sent to seal the deal, falls in love with the village and eventually persuades him to set up a marine observatory instead.

Pennan, where the film was shot, is just up the coast from Balmedie.

A war of words has erupted between Trump and Mr Forbes, with the US developer reportedly accusing the ruddy-cheeked fisherman this week of keeping his 9.3-hectare smallholding in a state of "total disrepair".

The Aberdeen Press and Journal newspaper today reported that Trump said Mr Forbes was deliberately keeping the property in a state of wrack and ruin as a ploy to get more money.

Mr Forbes hit back, telling the newspaper the £350,000 ($A794,550) he was offered was well below the market value.

"It's mine and I'm keeping it. He's not used to people saying 'no' to him," said Mr Forbes, whose grandfather and uncles fished from the same spot on the North Sea coast.

Another potential stumbling block for Trump is an environmental campaign against any construction on "green belt" land – countryside areas – protected from development in law. A march is planned in Aberdeen on Saturday.

Trump's right-hand man George Sorial said Mr. Forbes was "playing a little game" to get more money, but said the farmer was entitled to stay.

"We're not going to hide the fact that we would like to purchase his land and have made offers, but we don't need his land."

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