THE Alba Party have described the planned development of a “millionaires' playground” in Scotland as an echo of the Highland Clearances.

US firm Discovery Land Company (DLC) wants to turn Taymouth Castle, the neighbouring Glenlyon Estate and properties in the nearby village of Kenmore into an exclusive club for super-rich members.

There were concerns that access to the compound – which it refers to as a “world” – would be restricted to people who can afford membership fees of between $37,500 and $300,000 annually, as it is elsewhere in the world.

But a petition aiming to halt the plans has now garnered more than 150,000 signatures, and DLC have said they will not be building a gated community after interventions from SNP politicians.

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Alba are the latest to voice their concerns on the plans, with the party’s national council delegate Alan Beck saying: “We live in a beautiful country that people from across the world visit. It is within this landscape that our culture thrives, why would we want to change it.

“Rural Scotland can’t get investment to dual our roads but when it comes to installing helipads for the rich and new roads to get five star hotels, communities can be moved and the work is carried out.

“Welcome to the Highland Clearances 2023. We must not allow people with deep pockets to buy our landscape. Alba Party will oppose and fight this development.”

SNP figures John Swinney (below) and Pete Wishart have met with both the local community and representatives from DLC.

The National:

A public meeting was held in Aberfeldy in late July about the plans in which Swinney and Wishart said they saw engagement on a level that they had “rarely, if ever, seen”.

Since The National first put a spotlight on DLC’s plans back in early July, media interest around the development has intensified.

Taymouth Castle managing director David O’Donoghue previously responded to a letter sent by the SNP figures regarding questions around a masterplan for the development, the purchase and closure of village amenities and “woeful” communication from the company during its early stages.

The letter said: “We will attempt to begin to address the questions you raised… but we intend to follow up as soon as we are able with greater clarity and specificity than we do here – or have in the past.”

He added: “First, Discovery Land Company will fully comply with all legislative requirements, particularly with regard to public access.

“Due to construction and safety concerns, access to some parts of the area has been restricted and some of the areas that have been open to public access in the past are likely to change. But our intent is to follow the spirit of the law.

“In short, Taymouth Estate will not be a gated community and the public will continue to have access to the beach and car park.”

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Regarding a number of amenities in the village, including the hotel and shop, O’Donoghue said any planned changes would be well signposted.

And on the issue of a masterplan, DLC’s manager wrote: “Local residents can review the strategic framework for the project, which is filed with the planning council and updated routinely.

“In the near future, we also intend to release an easier-to-follow overview of the plan for the project. We will share this with you when it is complete.”

Swinney and Wishart were recently able to meet with O’Donoghue who said he “welcomed the opportunity” to discuss the proposals and reiterated that “the spirit of the law” would be followed at all times.