Gated 'playground for mega-rich' plan 'threatens' loch area

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

Petition launched to halt plans for ‘millionaire’s playground’ by Loch Tay CC BY-SA 2.0 via

A petition has been launched by campaigners to halt plans for an 8000-acre “playground” for millionaires on Loch Tay’s shores.

It comes after Discovery Land Company (DLC), a US firm, announced plans to turn Taymouth Castle, the neighbouring Glenlyon Estate, and properties in the nearby village of Kenmore into an exclusive gated community for mega-rich club members.

It means that access to the DLC compound, called a “world” by the company, will be restricted to membership holders.

DLC describes itself as providing “luxury residential family homes built in private club communities”. 

Its “worlds” include medical, recreational and educational facilities as well as shops and restaurants. 

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

Protect Loch Tay are asking for people to back its calls for “strict oversight” of plans for Taymouth Castle to be taken out of the hands of Perth and Kinross Council, which has been accused of “failing to protect” the area.

“DLC plan to create a private resort for the mega-rich on over 8000 acres of land at Taymouth Castle, Glen Lyon and other areas around Loch Tay,” Rob Jamieson, founder of Protect Loch Tay wrote.

“Their sales brochure describes Scotland as an ‘untouched playground’. This whole area is a treasured part of our Scottish heritage and culture and we seek to preserve it for everyone of us, our children, our grandchildren and generations to come.”

Ownership of the estates is ultimately in the name of DLC founder Mike Meldman and US billionaire John Paul DeJoria, through various companies with names such as River Tay Development Ltd, Taymouth Holdings Ltd, and PLH in the Highlands Ltd.

Planning permission for the developments is being sought through a series of planning applications, some of which have already been granted approval.

The petition accuses DLC of splitting their larger plans into many smaller ones.

The petition claims: “The current scenario of individual planning applications which are being drip-fed to the community is neither fair nor ethical and could be construed as devious, look up ‘salami slicing’. 

“DLC are known to currently have control over Taymouth Castle Estate, Newhall Woods on the banks of the Tay, Glen Lyon Estate, Loch Farleyer, Kenmore Hotel (has been shut down), Kenmore Beach, Kenmore Beach Parking, the Paper Boat Café (shut down now) and Kenmore Boat Hire (has also been closed). 

“The full extent of land, properties and Estates in their control is unknown as they use over 50 different company names.”

It added: “We seek to highlight this to the Scottish Government and demand a complete halt to all further and future development. We also seek to limit the number of powered watercraft to the present level. 

“We want strict oversight of what development is already underway by an authority other than Perth and Kinross Council, who we see as having failed to protect this beautiful area. We request a review of community councils’ roles in developments of this size, when they are dealing with entities who have the experience, power and financial clout of DLC Group.”

A Perth and Kinross Council spokesperson said: “The council is broadly supportive of this ambitious project to restore the Category A Listed Taymouth Castle, and to use part of the wider estate for leisure-related facilities.  Planning permission for the development was granted in 2011 and the current owners have continued to implement this permission. They are fully aware they need to apply for planning permission for any changes they wish to make to the originally approved proposals. Advice has also been provided regarding Scotland’s responsible access legislation.

“We consider all planning applications in line with national and local policy and guidance and will determine them accordingly. Submissions from members of the public regarding any planning application will be taken into account as part of the planning process.”

A spokesperson from Discovery Land Company said: “The developers of Taymouth Castle Estate share the local community’s desire to maintain the peace and tranquillity of the area, which is without doubt its greatest asset.

“Our commitment to improving what is already here is evident in the considered restoration and redevelopment underway, within and beyond the castle walls.

“Discovery Land Company has a deep passion for safeguarding both the welfare of wildlife and the local environment. We are collaborating with NatureScot, arboretum consultants and ecology conservationist experts, among other specialists, to ensure our actions are in harmony with nature.

“To clarify, we do not have any plans to develop or purchase a marina on Loch Tay. We value the beauty and splendour of Loch Tay and are committed to full adherence to the Loch Tay Association Code of Conduct and will work with other owners and interested parties to implement these practices.

“We are actively investing in the revival of some of Kenmore’s most valued assets and amenities for public use and enjoyment, including the Kenmore Hotel, the village shop, beach area and Paper Boat Café. These efforts seek to rejuvenate Kenmore and bring benefit to the local area.

“While the petition to protect the loch comes from a good place, it has generated some anxiety among local people. We want to provide assurances that we are dedicated to addressing any inaccuracies and dispelling misconceptions.

“We will continue to work with the Kenmore and District Community Council to ensure the accuracy of information provided, enabling informed decision-making based on facts rather than speculation.

“We remain open to addressing any questions or concerns and providing regular updates on the development through the Welcome to Taymouth website.”

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