THE US firm developing Taymouth Castle into a luxury members’ resort for the mega-rich has applied to build a golf cart garage on land earmarked for affordable housing, The National can reveal.

Discovery Land Company (DLC), which owns more than 35 private compounds aimed at multi-millionaires across the globe, has been urged to reconsider the application at Kenmore, on the eastern edge of Loch Tay.

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In plans lodged with Perth and Kinross Council (PKC), the US firm is seeking permission for the “erection of a building for golf vehicle maintenance purposes” on a 1.6 hectare plot of land designated H42 in the Perth and Kinross Local Development Plan 2.

That development plan states: “There is … pressure for more housing for workers and to help support tourism in the area. A site has therefore been identified in Kenmore because of the specific need for additional housing for local and key workers in this area.”

DLC has applied to build a golf cart garage – along with wash bays, offices, access routes and other landscaping – on the H42 plot.

The National: Images showing the H42 plot, earmarked for affordable housing for key workers (above), and DLC proposals to build a golf cart maintenance complex on the same land (below)

The National: In a planning statement, representatives for DLC argue that there will still be enough space for affordable housing in the H42 plot once the golf cart maintenance complex is built.

Initial estimates said the plot could hold 21-33 homes, of which 25% would be “affordable and the remainder low-cost and/or mid-market housing or staff accommodation”.

DLC’s representatives said that there is enough land to build the golf cart garage and 24 homes. The planning application includes no housing.

John Swinney (below), the former deputy first minister and serving MSP for Perthshire North, said: “It is vital that land designated for affordable housing is used for that purpose, especially in Highland Perthshire where there is such pressure on housing supply.

“Perth and Kinross Council must consider this important factor in determining this application.”

The National: John Swinney

Green MSP Mark Ruskell urged the US firm to reconsider the planning application, saying: “DLC has once again shown a disregard for local people and communities.

“It would be deeply concerning but sadly not surprising if they are planning to prioritise golf-course resources in a space that is earmarked for local housing.

“Folks across Kenmore and surrounding villages are rightly concerned about the impact of this sprawling development on the fabric of communities and the local environment. What is needed is appropriate and affordable homes planned by local people, for local people and I urge DLC to reconsider this proposal.”

The Mid Scotland and Fife MSP added: "DLC has avoided community scrutiny until now. The vast number of individual planning applications has made it hard for local residents to democratically hold it to account. I urge the developers to change tack and meaningfully engage with local people rather than pursuing ever-more controversial proposals.”

A spokesperson for Protect Loch Tay – a campaign group set up to monitor the development of Taymouth Castle – said they were “very concerned” about the application.

They claimed it “could result in a reduction in the number of affordable homes, a critical issue for people in our area”, going on: “Shockingly, they want to site it adjacent to existing residential properties and the primary school.

“This will cause noise and light pollution, not only during the construction phase but this will become an ongoing nuisance.

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“The residents' existing views will be affected detrimentally, who wants to look at the back of an industrial facility?

“We note with great concern that it is not being sited anywhere near the castle or the high-end residences being constructed. Is this a case of the locals matter least?”

They added that public concerns and objections need to be lodged with PKC's planning department before February 23, 2024.

A PKC spokesperson said: “The application in question is currently open to public comment, prior to its determination in due course. All planning applications we receive will be considered in line with local and national planning policy and guidance.”

DLC did not respond when approached for comment.

READ MORE: 'Non-negotiable': Senior SNP figures to raise Taymouth planning breach with US firm

The US firm has bought up many properties around the Taymouth estate, including the neighbouring 7000-acre Glenlyon estate, Kenmore Hotel, Kenmore post office and shop, Taymouth Trading, Brae Cottages, Am Fasgadh and Gatehouse, Paper Boat, Police House, and the Boathouse cottages, among other properties.

In September, DLC confirmed it had also purchased the Moness Resort in Aberfeldy.

Elsewhere, DLC’s private “worlds” are members-only compounds which 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.

According to reports, the “minimum investment” to build a house in DLC’s Silo Ridge compound in New York state is $3 million.