Donald the golf course builder trumps Tilda

Work on a new golf resort in Scotland being built by US tycoon Donald Trump has started, despite fierce opposition from some local people.

The £1 billion ($1.8 billion) coastal resort in Balmedie, near Aberdeen in north-east Scotland, will feature two golf courses, a hotel and about 1000 holiday homes.

But several residents are still refusing to sell their homes to make way for the site amid a high-profile campaign backed by Oscar-winning actress Tilda Swinton, who lives in the region.

Trump's son Donald Trump jnr described the protesters on BBC radio as "teenage people", accusing them of "little childish stunts".

"We are trying to deliver a golf course that can really be looked at as the greatest golf course anywhere in the world," he said.

"The vast majority of the people of the north-east want this project to go forward and have been incredible supporters of us."

But opponents say the local council is giving Trump favourable treatment because of his wealth and fame, boosted in recent years by his role as host of US reality television show The Apprentice.

They are threatening legal action against the plans, which they say will also be bad for the environment. Officials insist they have acted within the rules.

Initial work on the site, which got the green light from councillors on Tuesday, will involve planting marram grass in a bid to stabilise a large area of sand, erecting fencing on dunes and carrying out preparatory earthworks.

The golf development is backed by Scotland's devolved Government, run by the pro-independence Scottish National Party.

Scotland's main tourism and economic development agencies also support it, saying it will attract high-spending visitors from around the world.