Gated community will be 'playground for mega-rich at expense of locals'

Membership to the 8000-acre community could reportedly cost anywhre between $3m to $50m.

Loch Tay: Gated Perthshire community will be ‘playground for mega-rich at locals’ expense’ CC BY-SA 2.0 via

Plans for an 8000-acre exclusive community near the shores of Loch Tay will create a “playground for the mega-rich” at the cost of the local community, an MP has warned.

Mark Ruskell – whose Mid Scotland and Fife constituency includes the loch – spoke after more than 300 people attended a public meeting in Aberfeldy to raise concerns about the proposals.

Perthshire North MSP John Swinney and Perth and North Perthshire MP Pete Wishart also attended the event.

Ruskell, a Scottish Green MSP, said local residents have become increasingly worried about the Perthshire project which centres around Taymouth Castle, near the village of Kenmore.

He said the US-based property developers Discovery Land Company (DLC) have bought a “huge swathe” of land and property near the loch.

The firm wants to turn Taymouth Castle, the neighbouring Glenlyon Estate, and properties in the nearby village of Kenmore into an exclusive community for club members.

Access to the area, called a “world” by the company, will be restricted to membership holders.

Membership requires the purchase of a property, which can cost anything from $3m to $50m.

Ruskell has asked DLC for an urgent meeting to discuss local concerns.

He said: “Folk across Kenmore and surrounding villages are rightly concerned about the impact of this mega overdevelopment on the community.

“We don’t need a luxury playground for the mega-rich on the banks of Loch Tay.

“We need to be investing in assets for the local community, not carving off land for fancy private clubs for millionaires.”

Ruskell said while such a project may have been “appropriate in the 19th century, it is not in the 21st century”.

He continued: “The developers are going to face a huge battle unless they can change their plans and offer legally binding agreements to protect the public interest.

“Further development on this site also threatens to damage the unique biodiversity of Loch Tay, from disturbing the habitats of otters to damaging mature woodlands.

“Things have gone too far. It’s time for Discovery Land Company to halt further any further planning applications, and if they won’t, for Perth and Kinross Council to finally stand up to the developers and refuse further consents.

“There is no accountable masterplan for the project that has been shared with the community to be scrutinised.”

A spokesperson from Discovery Land Company said: “We note Mr Ruskell’s comments which we must refute in the strongest of terms.

“Discovery Land Company has gone on public record to state that there are no plans for development on the banks of Loch Tay. 

“Therefore, to state that Loch Tay will become a playground for the mega-rich is simply not true. We own one small property on the Loch so to refer to it as a huge swathe of land on the lock’ is frankly misleading.   

“Discovery Land Company has never indicated or had any intention that the estate would be a ‘gated community’ this was a phrase coined by detractors of the project which has gained traction online and in press. 

“The estate remains very much open to the public and the paths are clearly marked.  

“Additionally, while we fully appreciate that some people who attended the meeting – some from as far as Edinburgh and Ayr – were against the project, many locals spoke out in support of it highlighting the positive impact Discovery Land Company is making to the local area including upgrading the beach, the reopening of the village shop closed by the previous owner, and the much-needed refurbishment of the Kenmore Hotel which will also open to the public in the future.   

“Discovery Land company is committed to safeguarding the estate’s outstanding natural environment and are working closely with ecology consultants, Perth and Kinross Council and Nature Scotland to ensure the protection and enhancement of wildlife across the estate.  

“In conclusion, we welcomed the opportunity to meet with Mr Ruskell and answered his queries in full reiterating our commitment to working with the community to ensure the area continues to benefit. 

“We are therefore surprised not to see these clarifications communicated in Mr Ruskell’s press release which instead shared factual inaccuracies.

“We appreciate that communication is key to building trust and we will continue to engage with interested parties throughout the project to ensure the local community can make up their own minds based on facts, not supposition.”

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