JOHN Swinney and Pete Wishart have said they will continue to press the US firm looking to develop Taymouth Castle into a luxury resort for the mega-rich after meeting with representatives from the company.

The two senior SNP politicians intervened after reports in The National and elsewhere focused on plans that Discovery Land Company (DLC) had for the estate on the banks of Loch Tay.

Campaigners had raised concerns that DLC was planning to build a gated community in Scotland – as it has elsewhere in the world – and was buying up and shutting down properties outwith Taymouth estate, such as the Kenmore Hotel and the village’s local shop.

The concerns led to a public meeting in Aberfeldy in late July, which Swinney and Wishart said saw engagement on a level that they had “rarely, if ever, seen”.

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In the wake of the meeting, the two SNP figures wrote to DLC to assert that no gated community could be built in Scotland – and the pair have now met with representatives from the firm.

Swinney and Wishart, who represent Perthshire North at Holyrood and Perth and North Perthshire at Westminster respectively, met with Taymouth Castle managing director David O’Donoghue and planning consultant Paul Scott to discuss the plans for Kenmore and the neighbouring estate.

Swinney (below) said: “I was pleased to meet once more with DLC to discuss in more detail their response to the queries I raised on behalf of the local community.

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“During our meeting, I emphasised the need for continued community engagement and a more transparent approach to the future of the development. Whilst I welcome many of the sentiments expressed by DLC both in their written response to me and at today’s meeting, it is important that these words are now backed up with actions.

“I will continue to put forward the views of the local community to DLC, whilst also urging them to work more closely with local stakeholders so as to ensure that their development plans proceed with as much community support and trust as possible.

“We intend to have further discussions with DLC in the short term to follow up the discussion we had today.”

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And Wishart (above) added: “I appreciated the opportunity to meet once more with DLC in relation to the Taymouth Castle and Kenmore proposals.

“The recent public meeting that John Swinney and I hosted showed the great interest and strength of feeling in relation to this project.

“John and I reiterated the clear need for discussion and dialogue with the public, as well as ensuring a commitment to providing responsible access. Responsible access is enshrined in Scottish life and it is essential that DLC bear this in mind during their development.

“The Kenmore area is a jewel in the Highland Perthshire crown and I hope that a development comes to fruition that can be enjoyed by all. Ongoing dialogue and communication is essential to ensuring this.”

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Campaigners have previously raised concerns about the lack of communication on the project from DLC, saying it took one year to get answers to a set of questions first submitted in August 2022.

DLC have both accepted and rejected that their communication could have been better. Speaking to the Courier in July, Taymouth project manager Tom Collopy conceded that the firm's "communication needs to be improved greatly".

But a spokesperson for the firm told The National in August that “claims of inadequate communication are unsubstantiated”.

O’Donoghue said: “I welcomed the opportunity to meet with John Swinney MSP and Pete Wishart MP to discuss the development and Kenmore proposals in more detail. In our meeting, we reiterated that the Taymouth Estate will not be a gated community. We will follow the letter and spirit of the law at all times, including with regard to public access. 

“We are fully committed to improving the quality of life of this beautiful area, while respecting the community, environment and traditions, and we are committed to providing greater clarity, additional information and ongoing updates to the community as the project progresses.”