Taymouth Castle Development- Council position statement
The Community Council has established a constructive relationship with Discovery Land Company (DLC) the new castle owners. The owners are working to previous planning consents which are publicly available (see links on our website). There will inevitably be changes to these and they will be subject to new planning applications and public consultation under the statutory planning system. The Community Council is a statutory consultee and we will seek views and respond. Where we think we need to object to proposals then we will, as we have done in the past. We encourage local people to also participate fully in any consultations. People within the wider area clearly also have an interest and we liaise with them and attend joint Community Council meetings.
Some of the important issues, like access to walks and trails during the construction period, are being tackled and many of our, and the community's, concerns have already been addressed.
The Castle and its grounds are all Category 1 listed and this important part of our local heritage is at last to be properly protected and restored. It seems most unlikely that this project will founder as before.
The golf course is to come out of its hibernation and be fully restored. This may take a few years.
The beach has already had work to clean it up and may be extended to better accommodate visitors. New tables and benches, and better looking street furniture, are being considered.
Public access to the castle grounds and beach is to be maintained and this is an important issue for the council. DLC is looking at designing new footpaths and trails, possibly with special facilities for children and improved interpretation and signage for visitors. There are some temporary closures or detours for public safety reasons and DLC has promised to keep us abreast of these. In the meantime, we are liaising with our contacts at Community Greenspace and the Planning Authority who are working closely together on core paths and access in relation to the Taymouth Castle development to ensure the public's right of responsible access are upheld and to ensure the developer is aware of their legal obligations regarding public access.
Properties in the village and wider area are being purchased for staff accommodation. In many cases returning holiday homes to permanent residences for local people - helping to restore the village to its original purpose.
We are also discussing with DLC opportunities to create new affordable, or community, housing for castle staff and others. A part of the castle estate is already designated in the Local Plan for affordable housing.
We believe the development will mean good quality permanent jobs, more people living here, and families returning to village life, creating a sustainable economic and social community.
Working with the community
The owners have shown they are keen to work with the community. Some of the key people working there are already living in ex-holiday homes in the village, and have become a part of the community themselves.
We believe that working with the developers, rather than opposing them, is the only way forward. Our small working group meets regularly with representatives of DLC at all levels to achieve this. Minutes of these meetings are available here.
Positive outcomes so far include:
cleaning up of the beach area;
planned provision of new beach and street furniture;
help with retaining and restoring the Reading Rooms and providing broadband there;
long overdue restoration of the Kenmore Hotel;
sponsorship for the school and local events; and
an excellent Christmas in Kenmore celebration.
There will no doubt be challenges ahead where our objectives may not connect. Should this happen, we believe that sorting these out is best done from the positive and collaborative base we have established, rather than confrontation.
To do this effectively we need to properly represent the community - your views and concerns are vital. Our meetings are open to anyone to attend and our contact details are listed on our website.
Please check our web page for news, attend any of our meetings, or simply join our mailing list.
Questions and Answers
How transparent is the Council in its business?
Our Council meetings are open to anyone to attend and the dates, and locations of these are made public well in advance. The agenda and minutes of these meetings are published on our website and the minutes of our meetings with DLC are also published. If members of our community have specific questions for us, or for us to put to DLC, we welcome these.
Why are your meetings with DLC not public?
DLC wishes are that their communication with the community would be most effective by working through the Community Council. While the Council would like to see more direct public engagement we respect their view. The minutes of the working party liaison meetings are made public shortly afterwards and people in the community are most welcome to put their questions through us, as many have done. We have also published list of Q&A put to the developers and are expanding this. DLC has also said that it is happy to meet with other interested groups and has established a regular forum with other Community Councils within the area.
How are the developments being scrutinised for example, on environmental matters?
The development is under scrutiny by a number of statutory bodies, for example: Perth and Kinross Council on all planning matters and permissions, Scottish Environmental Protection Agency on the natural environment, Scottish Water on water quality; Historic Environment Scotland for protection of our built heritage; and Scottish Forestry on trees and felling permissions. Each has its own legislation, regulations and powers. The Community Council has not the knowledge or expertise to scrutinise such specialist areas. Part of our job is to ensure that the appriopriate bodies, each with their own expertise, are involved and duly consulted.
Why are you not engaging directly with pressure groups?
We have had discussions with representatives of these groups and are happy to have an ongoing dialogue with them but let's be quite clear, our remit is to represent the views of people in our Community Council area – those who will be most affected by the development. There are many rumours – some quite absurd – circulating and we consider it more appropriate for these to be addressed by DLC, either directly or through our Q&A. We believe that more progress will be made through working with the developers than through divisive confrontation. We also think it most unfortunate that one group in particular has now chosen to target our Council.
Who is on the Council and how do we contact them?
The members are all voluntary and give freely of their time. In some cases, quite significant time is required to keep the Council active and effective. Members names, and in some cases direct contact details, are on our website. Volunteers are always welcome.
Does the Council support the castle development?
The Council is entirely independent and has not taken a position either way on the overall development. The decision to approve the development was taken by the planning authority many years ago and is no longer up for discussion. We do believe that both positives and negatives will result for the district and outr priority is to ensure that there are more of the former than the latter. We believe that we have already been effective in shaping many of the changes and in obtaining positive outcomes for the villages, some of which are listed above. We will continue to scrutinise new planning applications or amendments to the original proposals and will comment on the merits of each as they arise, listening to what the people in our district have to say, and representing their views. In some cases our views have been taken into account by the developers before planning applications have been finalised.
What contribution has DLC made to the local community?
Working with the Community Council and other partners it has:
Cleaned up the beach area with the intention of making it safer and more attractive with plans for new street furniture;
Organised and paid for a structural survey of the village Reading Rooms, provided free broadband for the rooms, and will contribute important materials for the renovation;
Purchased the Kenmore village shop with a view to re-opening it;
Contributed to the school;
Organised the very successful Christmas in Kenmore celebration;
Offered to undertake a structural survey of Kenmore church;
Contributed to, and supports the Crannog Centre;
Created a cycle path on the north side of the river;
Cleared the Gallops for walkers; and
Sponsored local events and activities such as the Kenmore Highland Games.
What view is the Council taking on public access?
This is one of the most pressing issues for both local people and visitors. We have made our position clear to DLC on many occasions – that public access to core paths must remain. We are liaising closely with our contacts at Community Greenspace and the planning department who are working together on core paths and access in relation to the Taymouth Castle development to ensure the public's right of responsible access are upheld and to ensure the developer is aware of their legal obligations. Rumours of a 'gated community' have been firmly put to rest by DLC.
Are we aware of any planned loch side developments?
DLC tells us it has no plans for any development on the loch side. Should that situation change then any proposals would be subject to planning regulations and public consultation as part of the statutory process. Regardless, we have sought, and been given, clear assurance at senior level within DLC that the company fully supports the Loch Tay Association Code of Conduct and will strictly adhere to the code. The code includes, among other things, boating, salmon and trout fishing, speed limits, noise and restricted areas.
Updated 21 August, 2023