CAMPAIGNERS have reacted with anger after the developers of Taymouth Castle were given retrospective consent to works begun without planning permission.

Perth and Kinross Council (PKC) has approved an application to build a “foul water treatment plant and associated drainage works” into the River Tay, which developers had already started building.

As The National reported in October, satellite images revealed that Discovery Land Company (DLC), which owns Taymouth Castle, had started work on the plant despite ongoing concerns from NatureScot about the impact it would have on wildlife.

A spokesperson for the Protect Loch Tay group, set up to provide oversight of the DLC development that they claim is lacking from conventional authorities, reacted with anger to the retrospective approval of the work.

READ MORE: Taymouth Castle developers in breach of planning rules, satellite images reveal

“This is just one of many occasions where DLC seem to treat PKC and the Scottish public with contempt,” they said.

“To the majority of onlookers it seems that they just push ahead with parts of their project in the knowledge that PKC will grant retrospective consent, virtually unquestioningly.”

They went on: “There are 157,000 signatories to our petition [calling for oversight of the DLC development to be taken out of PKC control] who are horrified at all of this.

“In our opinion it is long overdue that there is oversight by a higher authority, to ensure the environmental impacts of this whole development are fully and thoroughly assessed. It is important to remember this whole area is a Special Area of Conservation [SAC] and should be treated as such.”


A PKC spokesperson said: “While works should clearly not have begun before planning permission for application reference 22/01882/FLL was granted, those undertaken were in an area located distant from the River Tay SAC, and were not considered to have any likely impact on protected species such as freshwater pearl mussels.

“The applicant stopped work as soon as we became aware of the matter and advised them to do so.

“The application was subject to significant scrutiny and consideration by our planning team, and detailed comments were received from a number of consultees including NatureScot. No objection was made by NatureScot and no resulting adverse impact on the River Tay SAC from the development was identified.”

NatureScot submitted a statement to PKC on November 3 confirming that it was “now satisfied that this proposal can proceed without adversely affecting the protected interests of the River Tay SAC, subject to the approval of the construction method statement and species protection plan”.

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In January 2023, the agency had warned that approving the application without consideration of the impacts on species such as freshwater pearl mussels may lead to an offence under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

In October, police and NatureScot visited the site after an anonymous report and found “no criminality”.

DLC did not respond to a request for comment.

The US firm is looking to develop Taymouth Castle and various other properties – including the neighbouring Glenlyon estate, Moness resort in Aberfeldy, and several properties in the village of Kenmore – into a luxury holiday resort for the mega-rich.

Similar DLC-owned compounds – which the company calls “worlds” – charge initiation fees of up to $300,000 and follow-up annual fees of as much as $37,500.

On top of those charges, house prices on DLC land are well into the multi-million-dollar bracket, with some going as high as the tens of millions for a single property.