Rob Jamieson, a business owner in the Loch Tay area and the founder of the Protect Loch Tay campaign, writes on US firm Discovery Land Company’s plans to turn 8000 acres off the loch’s eastern shores into a private members reserve for the super-rich.

I WAS utterly shocked to hear from several sources (including members of their own team) that, as well as turning Taymouth Castle into an exclusive, luxury, members-only hotel with suites starting at £4500 per night (workers will be earning £12.50 per hour), Discovery Land Company are also planning to build hundreds of houses on both sides of the upper River Tay. For the fabulously wealthy owners of Taymouth Castle, this will not be a “second home” but a thirty fourth.

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Now, some folks will no doubt think this is a great idea which will bring money into the area, but it will only be a very small number who benefit. The developer’s idea of a resort is somewhere you never have to leave. Everything a millionaire could ever wish for is contained within security fencing (other than taking a helicopter to golf at Gleneagles or St Andrews).

This development is shrouded in secrecy: just trying to find out who now owns what in the Kenmore area is something Mensa would have difficulty understanding. A multitude of entities seem to have involvement, and I do not doubt this has been done to make it almost impossible to keep track of their dealings and their ultimate intentions.

Discovery Land Company (DLC) is refusing to meet with any local campaigners to answer our questions. The only way it communicates is via the Kenmore Community Council. Locals have tried giving questions to the community council to be asked, but no answers were given. I recently asked to attend a meeting with the developers and council but was told “NO!” They couldn’t have the public at a meeting as it would become “unwieldy”. I wonder why they think that?

I also question the council’s own constitution. It states that they can, if they wish, hold council meetings in private. But surely, if someone else is present (ie: the developers), these meetings become public. This is something we ideally would get legal advice on.

The National: PLACE OF LEGEND: The entrance to Taymouth Castle

DLC say they are building a “community”. Yes, but it is a gated community for the super rich, and it is to the detriment of the existing community. They are a huge company whose sole purpose is profit, they have zero interest in us, other than as a workforce. They have already bought up a fair chunk of the village of Kenmore and everything is being closed down, including the hotel and the post office. The place is now a ghost town. Can they buy up an entire village and turn it into their own little fiefdom?

If so, the next thing they will need is a marina. There already is one in Kenmore – the Taymouth Marina Lochside Spa Resort. It is owned by its managing director, Eric Strickland. Incidentally, he is also the managing director of the firm behind the Taymouth development: McKenzie Strickland Associates. Will he sell the marina to the developers?

That’s an important question. At present, Loch Tay is enjoyed by boaters, canoeists, paddle boarders, open water swimmers, picnickers, walkers, and fishers to name but a few. However, with an additional 40 to 50 power boats (at least), jet skis and wake boarders thrashing up and down the loch, the peacefulness and beauty of our area will be destroyed forever.

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We might have to kiss goodbye to ospreys and black-throated divers for a start, along with the deer coming down to the shores at dusk and dawn for a drink. The wildlife may vanish. Our iconic salmon, already suffering a decline, could be gone. Our loch could become another resort playground, where noise pollution might drive away the wildlife we all love to see.

In its annual internal magazine, DLC revealed its views on our rural environment: “Scotland is the ultimate outdoor playground and is still so spectacularly untouched.” Now, I'm sorry, but Scotland is not a "playground", particularly not for the mega-rich. Scotland is our home. It is not for some billionaires to exploit.

DLC has planning consent for stage one. However, we can object to all further planning applications. We, as residents of the Loch Tay area and beyond, do still have time to protect the environment they wish to exploit for personal gain. I’d like to try to protect the loch and keep it as it is just now, somewhere we can all enjoy without a load of Hooray Henrys spoiling it.

Please join our Facebook group Protect Loch Tay, if you’re interested in protecting the area and ensuring it is able to be enjoyed as a wild place for generations to come.