PLANNING officials have recommended controversial plans to build 550 homes at Donald Trump’s Aberdeenshire estate be given the go-ahead – despite receiving a record number and objections and admitting the move would be a “significant” breach of policy.

A report by Aberdeenshire Council planners recommending approval in principle for the development at the US President’s Menie Estate, near Balmedie in principle does not comply with previously granted outline planning permission for a golf resort.

But it also states that the plans have “considerable merit” in terms of the benefits the new homes would have for the local economy.

The report will go before councillors on the authority’s Formartine area committee.

More than 20,000 objections were registered, many by people who signed a petition organised by the online platform 38 Degrees.

The report says officials cannot fully support the application because a number of issues have yet to be addressed but it adds: “The consultees have clarified that the outstanding requirements could be addressed and for this reason, the planning service consider it acceptable in these circumstances to allow these matters to be delegated to enable the applicant to provide all the required information. Should these matters not be addressed within a reasonable timescale, the planning service would refer this application back to full council.”

Consideration of the plan was delayed earlier this year. The council said the Trump family firm had not provided correct information quickly enough and that there was new material that would have to be properly reviewed.