Since refusing to let Donald Trump buy his house, inconveniently located in the middle of Mr. Trump’s planned $1.5 billion development in the countryside here, Michael Forbes has had an unusual number of visits from local enforcement officers.
One, he said, came to see whether he was abusing his hens, his geese or his horse (he was not). Another came to see whether he had an unlicensed shotgun (he did not). And a third came to investigate reports that there was a flammable substance in an old tanker on his land (there was not).
Mr. Forbes, a fisherman and granite quarry worker who has lived here for 41 years, since he was 15, said he did not care and would not move, no matter who wanted him to. But the unpleasant attention he is getting, regardless of who is behind it, comes as no surprise to the scattered, battered opponents of Mr. Trump’s grand golf-and-housing project, which already has preliminary approval and may start construction early next year.
Bruised by a fruitless effort to block the plans, they are learning that in a time of financial misery, few people are sympathetic to arguments that appear to put the environment over the economy.
Mr. Trump swept in a few years ago and bought 1,400 acres here at the edge of the North Sea, eight miles from Aberdeen (Mr. Forbes’s 23-acre holding is part of the project site, on a fragile, frequently foggy, shifting sand dune). Mr. Trump pronounced it the perfect place to build two golf courses, a 450-bedroom hotel, 950 vacation homes, 500 single-family houses, a conference center and a golf academy.
Environmentalists across Scotland reacted with horror, arguing that the area had special environmental protection and that the project was far too big, anyway. But residents did not want to hear about the environment, and did not react kindly when a local planning committee voted to reject the plan.
The seven officials who voted “no” found themselves in an Aberdeen newspaper under the headline “You Traitors.” The paper Photoshopped their heads onto pictures of turnips, Scottish symbols of stupidity.
The decision was overturned, when the Scottish government in Edinburgh stepped in and convened its own planning inquiry, which approved the project.
Since then, Martin Ford, an elected official who as chairman of the local committee cast the deciding vote against the plan, has been stripped of the chairmanship and other committee posts. This has caused him to lose nearly half his previous annual income of about $40,000, he said.
He said he had been vindicated by hundreds of supportive e-mail messages and letters. In January, a Scottish architecture Web site and magazine gave the project one of its Carbuncle Cup prizes: the Pockmark Award for the worst planning decision of 2008.
Critics of the project are as bitterly against it as they always were, but with planning approval already granted there is not much they can do to stop it. They haven’t stopped trying, though. In March, for instance, a group of airport expansion opponents put on Donald Trump masks and briefly seized Aberdeen Airport (they were arrested).
None of this bothers Mr. Trump, who remains extremely pleased about the project and his ability to pay for it. (The recent unpleasantness, where Trump Entertainment Resorts went bankrupt, he says, had little to do with him because it was no longer his company.)
“This is probably the most unique piece of property in the world for what we’re doing,” he declared in a telephone interview. He added, “I just sold a house for $100 million in Palm Beach, though I don’t want to be bragging.”
In a letter to a local elected official, Debra Storr, he also said, “It has become clear to everyone that your bitter and negative campaign against this project is purely motivated by self-interest.”
People here are not sure what to make of Mr. Trump, who has a tendency to fly in to Balmedie on his private jet, issue a string of statements about the superiority of his plans while his unusual hair blows around in the brisk Scottish wind, and then fly out again.
They are not sure he understands Scotland, for one thing, for all that he says about his plans to spend a lot of his time here, eventually, in his newly refurbished 14th-century manor house.
“I’m all for development and for people building golf resorts,” said one local resident, Bill Grant, 54, who spoke in downtown Aberdeen. “But he’s doing it in the wrong place.”
Mr. Grant explained that the dunes tend to suffer from the notorious haar, a thick fog that pours in from the sea. “You cannot see your hand in front of your face, and if the wind goes calm it can stick there for days,” Mr. Grant said. “If you were playing golf, you would need a homing device to find your ball.”
As for Mr. Forbes, he is holding firm. Mr. Trump, who called Mr. Forbes’s property “a monstrosity,” said that either Mr. Forbes should be forced to clean up his various outbuildings, or his property should be condemned.
Mr. Forbes has retaliated against such remarks by painting a large anti-Trump slogan on the side of his barn. He also sent back, unopened, the last letter he got from the Trump Organization.
“I think I’ll be annoying them more than they’ll be annoying me,” he said.