Taymouth Castle Estate lies at the eastern end of Loch Tay, near the village of Kenmore. It is the subject of planning permissions for a large-scale development, currently under construction, which is a source of real concern for the local community in terms of its potential impact on public outdoor access in the area in the longer term. ScotWays is aware local people are apprehensive that the developers plan to change access rights and block local core paths permanently.

This major redevelopment work has already started and includes golf course redesign, a new clubhouse, spa, restaurant and residential accommodation. To allow the work to happen, public access including several core paths has been closed or diverted for safety reasons, with the approval of Perth and Kinross Council.  The local community questions whether the closures are really temporary or just the start of the long-term erosion of local access rights, with the developer, Discovery Land Company, attempting to make the closures permanent in order to create an exclusive, private resort. ScotWays has been communicating with interested members of the public, as well as the Council, about the procedures followed for the temporary diversion of the core paths affected by the ongoing construction work within the Castle Estate, from the perspectives of both outdoor access and planning.

It is a complicated story that starts back in 2003 when planning permission for the proposed development was originally given. Since then, there has been a number of other applications (including the main 2011 application 11/00533/FLM) to modify various aspects of the original planning permission. The relevant planning applications have been approved, so the principle and much of the detail of the development are beyond challenge.

The Council protected public access within the planning applications (condition 33 of planning permission 11/00533/FLM).  Today, ScotWays would expect an access management plan to be submitted in support of a planning application for such a development, but these weren’t as common back in 2011.  See Ken. 

As construction work progressed, the developer came back to the Council with a request to reroute, temporarily, some of the core paths to allow them to carry out the development. On the basis of the case made, the Council agreed to allow these route changes, which the Council say are solely temporary.  ScotWays is not aware of any right for the public to object to this type of action, although condition 33 above permits temporary cessation of public paths through the Estate, subject to prior discussion with the Council and the local community, or in urgent safety or emergency situations. 

The concerns of the community are genuine.  Kenmore is a small place and the Castle Estate is a large, very valuable local recreational asset.  There is a natural anxiety that people may be excluded from the proposed development in the long term.  Unfortunately, you can’t object, formally, to something that might or might not happen in the future.  The key is to monitor closely the development and other activity within the Castle Estate, as well as Perth & Kinross Council’s online planning portal for any new planning applications affecting the Estate. If you think the developer is failing to comply with the terms of the planning permissions or trying to prevent access, without prior approval or adequate justification, you should report the matter to the Council’s planning and outdoor access staff and local councillors. Similarly, if you think any new planning application will adversely affect public access within the Estate, you should make your concerns known, in writing, to the Council’s planning and outdoor access staff and local councillors. 

Kenmore and District Community Council is keeping a close eye on what is happening and has published a statement from Perth and Kinross Council on its website about the development to help explain the current situation.

Separately, the same developer appears to have widened the track from Fortingall to Glenmore Bothy, which we record as Scottish Hill Track number 145 Fortingall to Kinloch Rannoch, apparently without the knowledge of Perth and Kinross Council. The John Muir Trust has raised this matter with the Council and, to help the Council understand what has been done to the track and, therefore, whether the work should be the subject of planning permission, is seeking photographs of the track, showing its condition before the widening work took place, particularly where it passes Meall Crumach and Meall nan Eun. If you have any such photos, please e-mail them to the John Muir Trust.  Under the planning legislation, it is possible the widening of the track represents permitted development, not requiring the submission of a planning application, dependent upon the extent of the work, who undertook it and for what purpose.

ScotWays will keep monitoring both situations.