THE Taymouth Castle estate will not become a gated community, the firm behind the development has said after politicians became involved in the project.

Discovery Land Company (DLC), which had been looking to create one of its private “worlds” on the shores of Loch Tay, has written to SNP politicians John Swinney and Pete Wishart after the pair intervened in the plans.

Since The National first put a spotlight on DLC’s plans for Taymouth Castle in early July, intense media interest has surrounded the development, culminating in a public meeting held by Swinney and Wishart on July 27.

The two SNP figures said they had “rarely, if ever” seen such high public engagement with an issue, and wrote to DLC in the wake of the meeting spelling out some key concerns.

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

These included worries that the US firm was set on building a members-only private community like it had elsewhere in the world, the lack of a clear masterplan for the development, the purchase and closure of village amenities in Kenmore, and “woeful” communication from DLC during the development’s early stages.

DLC was asked to respond by August 14. On Monday, a letter was sent from the firm’s Taymouth Castle managing director David O’Donoghue to Swinney and Wishart.

O’Donoghue acknowledged that not all questions would be answered, writing: “We will attempt to begin to address the questions you raised … but we intend to follow up as soon as we are able with greater clarity and specificity than we do here – or have in the past.”

READ MORE: US firm 'took one year to answer questions on Loch Tay plans', locals say

He went on: “First, Discovery Land Company will fully comply with all legislative requirements, particularly with regard to public access.

“Due to construction and safety concerns, access to some parts of the area has been restricted and some of the areas that have been open to public access in the past are likely to change. But our intent is to follow the spirit of the law.

“In short, Taymouth Estate will not be a gated community and the public will continue to have access to the beach and car park.”

The National: ROOMS WITH A VIEW: The rear of the Kenmore Hotel overlooking the lake

O’Donoghue said the village shop, Kenmore Hotel (above), Taymouth Trading, and the Paper Boat would all be reopened for the community in due course, with any planned changes well signposted.

He said that trout fishing permits would continue to be available, but salmon fishing would be restricted, adding: “We apologise if this creates an inconvenience.”

And on the issue of a masterplan, DLC’s manager wrote: “Local residents can review the strategic framework for the project, which is filed with the planning council and updated routinely.

“In the near future, we also intend to release an easier-to-follow overview of the plan for the project. We will share this with you when it is complete.”

The National: John Swinney

Responding, former deputy first minister Swinney (above) said he was “pleased that Discovery Land Company have committed to engaging more proactively and in greater detail with the public recognising the unsatisfactory nature of the communication to date”.

He went on: "I welcome the company's explicit promise that the Taymouth Castle development will adhere to existing legislation and that the right of responsible access will be respected. I also hope that the categorical statement that there are no plans for a gated community will be of some reassurance to those concerned with this development.”

Swinney added: "Whilst both the content and tone of DLC's response to our letter is to be welcomed, it is vital that this is the first step in rebuilding trust with many in the local community who, in the absence of effective communication, have grown suspicious of the development plans.

READ MORE: How plans for Taymouth Castle echo history of clearances and fake fantasy

"It is also important to recognise that the words contained within DLC's reply must now be translated into action. To that end, I will continue to engage with DLC so as to ensure that progress on these commitments is made as quickly as possible. I will be seeking an early meeting with DLC to start that process of dialogue."

Wishart, the SNP’s longest serving MP, said he has “surprised at the brevity of their response in respect to the number of issues that were raised, and had hoped that they would have addressed each of them more comprehensively”.

He went on: “One issue that I think we can lay to rest is any notion of the grounds becoming a gated community, and I hope that people’s concerns around access have been satisfied. We must also take at face value their commitment to the reopening of local amenities and their continued availability to the public.

“In all, this is a good first step but further conversations and reassurances are definitely needed, and I therefore look forward to meeting with DLC soon and continuing this dialogue.”