Scots castle to become playground for mega-rich with golfers served alcohol from 9am

Taymouth Castle, Kenmore
-Credit: (Image: Perthshire Advertiser)

A £370million development at 19th century Taymouth Castle - set to become an exclusive playground for the mega-rich - has been granted permission to serve booze to golfers from a cart on the course at 9am.

The licensing agreement for the Kenmore resort - which is an exception to the normal rule of 11am - was deemed necessary for visitors coming to Perth and Kinross “from other time zones” in need of a “tipple”.

US based developer Discovery Land Company - an investment group involving billionaire and philanthropist John Paul DeJoria - is behind the exclusive estate in Kenmore.

Plans include the renovation of the castle to create: 23 suites, two restaurants, multiple bars, gym facilities and a spa.

There will be space for around 145 homes - with lot prices starting at £4million - an 18-hole golf course with a bar/restaurant on site and an equestrian centre.

Lawyer Stephen McGowan spoke on behalf of applicants Taymouth Club Ltd when he presented their case to Perth and Kinross Licensing Board on Wednesday.

He asked councillors to allow alcohol to be served early in the morning on the golf course adding: “The application itself is pretty exceptional.

“Consumption of alcohol is ancillary to the principal activity. It will be supplied from a staffed golf cart.

“All groups will be accompanied by a member of staff.”

Mr McGowan described the cart as a “modest facility” and asked that they be allowed to “offer a modest tipple to a member on the golf course” so early in the day because “members are coming from other time zones” so it could be “halfway through their day when they arrive”.

Highland Perthshire councillor Mike Williamson sought assurance golfers would not be driving buggies while under the influence.

Mr McGowan said: “Golf buggies will all be driven by members of staff.”

General manager David O’Donaghue added that “all staff” will go through training on alcohol consumption and monitoring guests.

When asked by Bailie Williamson about the potential for antisocial behaviour later on from those who started drinking early, Mr McGowan said: “It’s down to David and staff to monitor. They will do so responsibly.”

A Socio-economic Impact Assessment from the developer states that an additional £30million will be spent by the US developer renovating properties they own in the picturesque village including the Kenmore Hotel, village shop, and various cottages.

Over 25 years, the estate is estimated to contribute £390 million gross value added to the Perth and Kinross economy, including £210 million in wages.

It is projected to create 2,620 construction jobs and an additional 200 jobs once operational.

And residents of the estate “are projected to spend £420 million constructing, outfitting and furnishing their homes” on the lots.

Lawyer Stephen McGowan said: “The international operator has multiple five-star golf resorts all over the world.”

“The resort will become only their second in Europe with the other in Portugal.

“They have always wanted to bring forward a Scottish venue to their portfolio.

“This is one of the most significant applications to come before you. It’s an exceptional application in a unique and wonderful location.”

Depute Provost Andrew Parrott asked for an idea of the profile of its membership.

Mr O’Donaghue said: “We are a real estate business. To tee it up, we sell dirt. Our lots start at £4 million. We internally market them and they come to our place.”

Perth and Kinross Licensing Board unanimously agreed the licence application subject to conditions.

A Perth and Kinross Council spokesperson said: “The board granted the application for a provisional premises licence.

“For this to be confirmed to a full premises licence, clearance is required from the council’s Planning, Building Standards and Food Hygiene teams.

“Given the current position of the comfort stations, these have been removed from the provisional premises licence.

“The provisional premises licence granted covers on-sales as follows:

Castle West Wing and Main Tower – various lounges and 11 apartments or bedrooms, each with a minibar

External Areas – with an occasional use marquee on the west (left) side

Golf Course – limited to a mobile electric car going around. Each golf party is to be accompanied by a member of staff

Off sales was also granted, however this will only be to houses on the estate."

DLC bought Taymouth Castle in 2018. It had been empty since 1982. Twelve of its buildings are recorded on the Buildings at Risk Register - this is now being addressed by the owners.