John Swinney, MSP for Perthshire North, and Pete Wishart, MP for Perth and North Perthshire have today [Monday] received a written reply to their correspondence dated 31st July 2023 to Discovery Land Company (DLC).
In the aftermath of a hugely-attended public meeting on July 27th, Mr Swinney and Mr Wishart pledged to write to DLC management to press them on a number of key points arising from the meeting. This letter was made publicly available for all to read, and a response was requested by today, 14th August. Discover Land Company’s reply was received today.
Commenting on DLC’s reply, Mr Swinney said: "I am pleased that Discovery Land Company have committed to engaging more proactively and in greater detail with the public recognising the unsatisfactory nature of the communication to date.
"I welcome the company's explicit promise that the Taymouth Castle development will adhere to existing legislation and that the right of responsible access will be respected. I also hope that the categorical statement that there are no plans for a gated community will be of some reassurance to those concerned with this development.
"I am also pleased that the company have confirmed their intention to re-open the local facilities, in addition to committing to investing in affordable housing in the community. I also note that the company have stated that they wish to provide an overview of the project that is easier for the public to follow. Whilst I support this sentiment, it is important that this overview is of sufficient scope and detail to address the concerns of members of the public and that is available in the next few weeks.
"Whilst both the content and tone of DLC's response to our letter is to be welcomed, it is vital that this is the first step in rebuilding trust with many in the local community who, in the absence of effective communication, have grown suspicious of the development plans.
"It is also important to recognise that the words contained within DLC's reply must now be translated into action. To that end, I will continue to engage with DLC so as to ensure that progress on these commitments is made as quickly as possible. I will be seeking an early meeting with DLC to start that process of dialogue."
Mr Wishart added: “The unprecedented interest in the Taymouth Castle development requires that the issues identified by the community are properly addressed, and I am pleased that DLC seem prepared to engage constructively. However, I am surprised at the brevity of their response in respect to the number of issues that were raised, and had hoped that they would have addressed each of them more comprehensively.
“One issue that I think we can lay to rest is any notion of the grounds becoming a gated community, and I hope that people’s concerns around access have been satisfied. We must also take at face value their commitment to the reopening of local amenities and their continued availability to the public.
“In all, this is a good first step but further conversations and reassurances are definitely needed, and I therefore look forward to meeting with DLC soon and continuing this dialogue.”
Mr Swinney and Mr Wishart will now contact DLC with a view to arranging a further meeting.
Attached is a copy of Mr Swinney and Mr Wishart’s initial letter to Discovery Land Company, along with a copy of DLC’s response.
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