Sean Connery didn't help Trump's golf course, says local councillor

Watch: Trump claims Connery ‘stepped in’ over Scottish golf course

Claims from Donald Trump that Sean Connery helped get his golf course in Scotland built have been rubbished by the local councillor in charge of the site's planning committee.

Following news of the death of the Bond actor over the weekend, Trump tweeted that Connery had “stepped in” after the development had “a very hard time getting approvals”.

(AP Photo/Matt Sayles)
(AP Photo/Matt Sayles)

“He was quite a guy, and a tough character,” Trump said.

“I was having a very hard time getting approvals for a big development in Scotland when Sean stepped in and shouted, ‘Let him build the damn thing.’ That was... all I needed, everything went swimmingly from there.

“He was so highly regarded & respected in Scotland and beyond that years of future turmoil was avoided. Sean was a great actor and an even greater man. Sincere condolences to his family!”

The course was initially turned down by Aberdeenshire Council, before the decision was overruled by national government.

However, Aberdeenshire councillor Martin Ford, who was the head of the planning committee overseeing the application, said Connery was not involved.

“Mr Connery was not involved in the due process that led to the granting of planning permission for a golf resort at Menie. He did not submit a letter of representation to the council, appear at the planning hearing, or at the public local inquiry,” he told The Guardian.

Read more: Connery’s widow reveals actor had dementia

Connery supported the building of golf course, at the Menie Estate, 10 miles north of the city, though it destroyed areas of natural dunes in the process.

The Daily Express quoted the actor in 2008 as saying: “During tough economic times, this is a major vote of confidence in Scotland's tourist industry and our ability to rise to the challenge.

UNITED STATES - APRIL 03:  Sean Connery (left) and Donald Trump are at the Synod House at St. John the Divine Cathedral Garden for the Johnnie Walker Dressed to Kilt fashion show and charity event.  (Photo by Richard Corkery/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
Sean Connery and Donald Trump at a charity event in New York in 2003. (Richard Corkery/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)

“I look forward to seeing a new gem in the north-east that is good for Aberdeenshire and good for Scotland.”

Ford added: “Opinions offered in press articles are not material considerations in decisions on planning applications.”

The former Scottish first minister Alex Salmond has also weighed in, saying: “Scotland and much of the world is mourning the loss of a great spirit.

“Sean Connery’s contribution and life’s work was immense, real and lasting and everyone with an ounce of class is reflecting upon just that today.

Read more: Sir Michael Caine remembers ‘great star, wonderful friend’ Sir Sean Connery

“Tributes are great from all sources but this is not a time for tweeting silly claims or indeed responding to them.”

Meanwhile, David Milne, the local man who refused to sell his land to Trump, called the claim “total boll***s” and said that Connery never played the course, despite invitations from Trump.

Milne, who has branded Trump an “arrogant bully”, raised the Mexican flag at his property in 2016 in solidarity against the president's slurs and plans to build a wall on the US border.

Watch: Sean Connery dead at 90