Kenmore: Fears

There are fears a peaceful Perthshire village is becoming a “ghost town” for locals who claim American billionaires are taking over to create a “playground” for the super-rich.

Kenmore sits on the banks of the stunning River Tay and is home to around 100 residents.

Neighbouring Taymouth Castle, built in 1842, and its vast swaths of land have been bought up by an Arizona-based business which boasts of transforming the area into a plush resort for the mega-wealthy.

Investors Discovery Land Company (DLC), which claims to be one of the most exclusive residential real estate development companies in the word, has also snapped up and subsequently closed the local hotel and post office.

The foreign business empire has also bought several homes as concerns mount that the area is becoming “hoarded by the elite”.

Kenmore Post Office

It has been reported DLC’s clients include billionaires, CEOs, presidents and celebrities.

A recent sales brochure from the US firm suggested the plans would include “a community including 208 residential units and club suites” and is only “30 minutes by helicopter” to Scotland’s major cities.

Kenmore

Kenmore

The castle restoration project was given planning permission by Perth and Kinross Council in 2011.

Locals suggest their surroundings are being strangled and have mounted a petition to “fight back”.

Rob Jamieson, Kenmore

Image: Rob Jamieson

Campaigner Rob Jamieson told Sky News: “In their other developments their homes range from £3m to £50m. They are going to try and close this all off. They don’t want the great unwashed walking past their high-end homes.

“None of us will ever set foot in it unless we want to tug a furlong. It is everything that a rich person could ever want but they never have to leave the confines of that estate. They are not going to be going out for tea and scones to the local tearoom.

“It is abhorrence to those of us who live around here.”

Kenmore.

DLC rejected numerous Sky News interview requests but insisted all regulations were being followed, including Scottish legislation giving the public the right to roam on paths surrounding the historic castle.

A spokeswoman did not deny suggestions the area will become a gated community.

The company website states the golf course and amenities will be “reserved” for the owners.

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Ingrid Sheilds, Kenmore

Image: Ingrid Sheilds

Ingrid Sheilds, from the local protest group, said: “People have questions about what the future plans are.

“They own the Kenmore hotel; they own practically all these cottages here. A lot of the times when you come here it is literally like a ghost town. There is no one here.

“Restaurants are closed down and even the public toilets. Kenmore, as the village as it once was, has really been transformed.”

DLC officials said “hundreds of people” have already been employed and they believe that will be “sustained for years to come”.

Peter Ely, Kenmore

Image: Peter Ely

Peter Ely’s house looks on to the exclusive resort and broadly supports what it will eventually become.

The local community council chairman said: “The castle has been in disrepair for 40 years. Steps are being taken to convert Kenmore back to a sustainable village.

“Over the last 20 years there was a 20% drop in residential people living here. Since these guys have taken over and bought up all the spare holiday lodges, [the] community is benefiting to the extent that the village is again beginning to grow.

“It will not be a closed community. I suspect they’ll be using local facilities.”

The American investors claimed they were “working hard to reopen the community’s village shop and hotel”.

It is unclear when the project will be completed.

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