TWO of the SNP's most senior politicians have written to the US firm looking to build a “billionaires’ playground” on the shores of Loch Tay seeking a “definitive response” on key aspects of the planned development.

Discovery Land Company (DLC) are looking to build a gated community for the mega-rich around Taymouth Castle – something politicians say cannot happen.

Former deputy first minister John Swinney and Pete Wishart, the SNP’s longest serving MP, said in their joint letter that DLC’s lack of open communication on their plans had created “significant levels of apprehension and concern within the local community”.

READ MORE: Pete Wishart: Four key takeaways on plans for Taymouth Castle 'playground'

It comes after the two SNP politicians co-convened a public meeting to hear about locals’ views on the firm’s plans for Taymouth and the neighbouring Glenlyon estate, which was attended on a scale they said was “rarely, if ever, seen”.

In their letter to DLC project manager Tom Collopy, the pair called for a series of issues around the castle to be “definitively resolved”. These included:

  • Addressing the “piecemeal planning applications” being put in for the project, which make it very difficult for anyone to establish an overall picture of the proposals. They asked if DLC would publish a “clear and accessible master plan … covering the next 10 years”.
  • Whether DLC would respect both the “letter and the spirit” of land reform legislation in Scotland – and accept that their Taymouth site “cannot be a ‘gated community’”.
  • If DLC could commit to the properties within Kenmore village that they have taken ownership of being reopened to the public. Swinney and Wishart noted that such sites include “the village shop, Kenmore Hotel, Paper Boat Restaurant, Taymouth Trading and the jetty”.
  • The beach and beach parking at Kenmore are also controlled by DLC, and the firm was asked if it had plans to “restrict access” to these areas.
  • What contribution DLC would consider to creating affordable housing in Highland Perthshire “given the importance of creating living space for people who will be performing roles that support the development”.
  • And the two SNP figures also stressed the “need for a transformation in the levels of community engagement and communication over the project".

Collopy, to whom the letter was sent, is the person who said in promotions for the project that Scotland is the “ultimate outdoor playground and is still so spectacularly untouched”.

In a DLC magazine article promoting the Taymouth development – that falsely asserted the castle had inspired Queen Victoria to “purchase Balmoral Castle in Edinburgh” – Collopy also said that the historic site on Loch Tay would become a “clubhouse”.

READ MORE: Investigation launched into 'unauthorised development' on billionaire's estate

The US firm has 34 private compounds like the one they are planning at Taymouth across the globe, according to its founder Mike Meldman.

Ordinarily, such DLC “worlds” are exclusive, members-only areas that you have to purchase a property inside in order to access. House prices can be anywhere from $3 million to $50m.

Members are also charged an annual membership fee, which run from a reported $37,500 to $300,000 depending on the compound.

The proposed development at Taymouth has sparked major controversy and widespread media interest after The National first reported the story in early July.

Green MSP Mark Ruskell has raised concerns that there is no master plan for the development, saying: "The plethora of planning applications have meant that it is hard to hold developers to account. Each further planning application is going to face a massive battle unless the developers can change tack and fully address concerns.”

A petition launched by the Protect Loch Tay (below) group calling for oversight of the plans to be taken out of Perth and Kinross Council’s hands has gathered more than 24,000 signatures.

The National:

The local authority has said it is “broadly supportive” of the development, outlining how DLC is implementing planning permission which was granted to other owners in 2011.

The council previously said the firm is “fully aware they need to apply for planning permission for any changes they wish to make to the originally approved proposals”.

The development has also led to calls for "binding" land reform from the SNP’s president, Michael Russell.

As it stands, neither Taymouth Castle nor the neighbouring 2800-hectare Glenlyon estate, which DLC has said will "serve as the community’s sporting club", would be covered by the Scottish Government's land reform proposals.

However, First Minister Humza Yousaf has said the Government will "seriously consider" recommendations from experts to change the scope of the bill.

Swinney and Wishart asked DLC to respond to their letter by August 14.

DLC has been approached for comment.