05 February 2013

After numerous weeks of uncertainty Meteor is about to present plans for the future of this much loved and important estate. Public consultation meetings are to be held on 8 & 9 February at the Reading Room in Kenmore.
So, what are the issues for the future, and what certainty is there that this development will succeed where many other attempts have failed?
Taymouth Castle is a monument of national importance. It is listed for the historic significance and architectural splendour of its castle, and the impressive 18th century designed landscape which spreads across the whole glen of the River Tay.
The resources needed to conserve and restore these much valued historical features have contributed to the downfall of previous initiatives, but any development of the estate without confirmed commitment to its heritage would seem unacceptable.

Community Approval
In 2005 planning permission was granted for conversion of the castle into a hotel, and for the building of 89 lodges in the grounds. Now the plans for which community approval is being sought will require permission for 71 further lodges, and a change to the proposed work on the hotel.
Work has already started in the grounds on the basis of the 2005 planning permission, roads are being constructed and trees felled. Locals are asking what measure of certainty there is that the new proposals will be more successfulTaymouth Castle than previous ones.
The definition of ‘community’ here is a difficult one. Because the castle is a building of national significance that ‘community’ could be Scotland-wide, it certainly involves more than Kenmore & District Community Council.
The Breadalbane Development Association (BDA) has already met with representatives of Meteor and attempted to articulate some of the wider community concerns that it has identified.
Many people, both resident and visitors, walk in the estate and use the golf course. Access and commitment to completion of the core paths is important, and assurance has been sought that the development will be sympathetic to the environment, both in the design of the houses and the impact on the natural environment. Relationships need to be established with the Taymouth Golf Club and Curling Club.

Economic Impact
A development of this scale is, of course, of importance to the community in its impact both on the local economy and the environment. More people will bring more business, but will there be more jobs created for local people, commitment to affordable local housing, environmental assessment on the impact of increased traffic and visitors if the development is considered in relation to the developments at Kenmore Hotel, Mains of Taymouth and Croft Na Caber - all of which are already approved?
It is widely recognised that Kenmore would benefit from an injection of employment and an increase in residents in order to expand its local community life and to reinforce both its environment and values which make it a beautiful place to live.
This is an important opportunity for the future of the castle and it’s estate. As many as possible should satisfy themselves about the plans in their current format and whether the developers are acting in the best interests of the community, the heritage, and the local economy.

The exhibition of plans at the Reading Room will be open to the public on

Tuesday 8 February from 12 noon til 9.00pm and on 

Wednesday 9 February from 7.30am to 9.00pm

 

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