FRESH concerns have been raised around plans to develop a Scottish castle and its grounds into a luxury resort for the mega-rich after campaigners liaised with global communities impacted by the same US firm.

An article published by Chris Heasman, a campaigner in the Loch Tay area, documented “abominable” broken promises from Discovery Land Company (DLC) at developments from Yellowstone National Park in the US to Guana Cay Reef in the Bahamas.

Heasman listed how golf course construction at DLC compounds abroad – as is planned at Taymouth Castle – had led to chemicals “choking” and “smothering” ecosystems as well as broken promises of funding for community benefit.

While a spokesperson for the firm did not deny any of the allegations in the article, they insisted that the Loch Tay development would be a “model of sustainability”.

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DLC runs some 35 "worlds" across the planet. These are exclusive, self-contained compounds where mega-rich members buy property which runs into the tens of millions.

The firm is leaning on planning permission granted in 2011 to a previous owner of Taymouth Castle as it looks to develop in Scotland.

Heasman wrote: “We’ve been lucky enough to speak with activists, campaigners and residents from Barbuda, the Bahamas, Portugal, California, New York and beyond, all of whom have dealt with, or are currently dealing with, the consequences of a Discovery development.

“It’s been a harrowing process. The corporate playbook rarely changes; the same scars always linger. And while it’s not easy to hear the suffering these people have faced, their stories are vital fragments of a greater whole — and only by knowing them can we see the perils ahead.”

The National:

In Barbuda, “deep concerns” about DLC’s Ocean Club Project were raised by United Nations representatives. The firm pledged more than $10 million after hurricane Irma to rebuild local schools, build a medical centre, restore lagoon and beachland and build a new airport.

Heasman wrote: “Six years later, only one of these promises has been delivered: the funding of the new airport, intended by DLC to accommodate ‘almost any size private aircraft’.”

At Yellowstone in Montana, DLC has been found by the Environmental Protection Agency and other US bodies to have violated the Clean Water Act on multiple occasions.

“The developers and landowners of the new community must immediately stop releasing sediment into tributaries of the Gallatin River and stop filling nearby wetlands, state and federal officials have ordered,” local reports said.

“The violations are related to the construction of a golf course, ski runs and roads at the 13,400-acre development.”

READ MORE: Why we want to prevent Loch Tay from being a billionaires' playground

And in The Bahamas, environmental advocate Fred Smith KC told media in 2015: “They burned the entire forest, they tore down the mangroves, they dug it all up.

“They’ve got a golf course and the chemicals are seeping into the reefs that are there.”

Local media reported the loss of “40% of the coral cover” at Guana Cay Reef in just two years, while Dr Troy Albury, a campaigner in the area, listed further unfulfilled promises of community investment – alongside the blocking of access to previous public byways.

The Protect Loch Tay group said that Heasman’s catalogue of DLC activities around the globe should be a wake-up call for politicians in Scotland, and urged them to take notice.

A spokesperson said: “This article is both heartbreaking and enraging. Heartbreaking to know what DLC has done to these communities and environments, and enraging to see the similarities to what they are hoping to do here in Scotland.

READ MORE: Bring in by-laws to protect Loch Tay from 'playground' plans, campaigners say

“This should be a wake up call to everyone who cares about our homeland, and, in particular, those who are meant to protect it from damage and destruction.

“Both John Swinney MSP (below) and Pete Wishart MP have stated this is a Scotland-wide issue, and rightly so and we should all be very worried.”

The National: John Swinney has rejected a claim that he showed a 'lack of candour'

The group said it has sent Heasman’s piece to a host of politicians and local authorities, adding: “Some community councils appear to be very much pro this development, which can surely only mean that they are unaware of DLC's abominable track record at their other resorts?

“If they were unaware of the appalling track record of these developers, we are sure they will now rethink their position and act accordingly.”

Asked to respond to Heasman’s piece, a DLC spokesperson said: “Every aspect of the Taymouth Estate is being designed in a way that restores and preserves the environment, protects wildlife, minimises our carbon footprint and eliminates sources of waste that have polluted Loch Tay for years.

“Wherever possible, we are going beyond laws related to sustainability and are using innovative approaches, including some that are relatively new to Scotland.

“We are working closely with expert arborists, veterinarians, preservationists and NatureScot, and we are committed to making this community a model of sustainability far beyond this region.”

You can find Heasman’s full article on Medium.