SNP and Tory alliance comes out against Flamingo Land
Exclusive by Bill Heaney
An unlikely alliance between the SNP and the Tories – some would call it an ongoing alliance – gave an unexpected boost tonight (Tuesday) to the campaign to stop the Flaming Land development on Loch Lomondside at Drumkinnon Woods.
West Dunbartonshire Council leader Cllr Jonathan McColl did a U-turn and told a packed meeting in Balloch that he was persuaded from “coming round to supporting” Flamingo Land to opposing it.
There were cheers and almost tears when the Conservative councillor for Balloch, Cllr Sally Page, said she too had no wish to see the application for planning in principle being approved by the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park in August.
Leading anti-Flamingo campaigner Bruce Biddulph, whose petition has collected more than 20,000 signatures of support, said: “I have just returned from Balloch Haldane Community Council meeting.
“I was astonished at the turnout, amazed at the breadth of opinion from a wide range of voices in the community, united in their concerns about this development…. and very pleased to hear our local reps, Cllr Page and Cllr McColl coming out in opposition to this land sale.
“I was disappointed that no-one from the [National] Park, or Flamingo Land , or Scottish Enterprise was there, but I didn’t really expect them to come anyway.
“Hats off to BHCC for hosting this meeting – it’s not easy for CCs to handle such weighty public meetings.”
He said the community would now be looking for leadership on the issue from Cllr McColl and Cllr Page.
Earlier, Bruce Biddulph saw the map of the latest plans from Flamingo Land.
He said: “Have a good look at this, and ask yourself, what does it mean? Here you will see the SE plan boundary, in red, and you will see the Woodbank lands already owned by FL, and you will see tan coloured areas where FL are ‘in discussion with stakeholders’ and you will see a strange inclusion marked in blue borders ‘other land within control of the applicant’.
“This thing is morphing into the entire takeover of western Balloch before our very eyes. The only bit they don’t have direct influence over is the retail section of Lomond Shores itself.
“All the rest, they are buying up, in-roading to themselves, controlling….and all bit by bit it is coming out…a far cry from the fluffy charrettes and happy visions of a better Balloch.
“This is not just sinister, it’s downright land grabbing and a horror story unfolding…so, you still think this about fun rides, jobs and ‘a great thing for Balloch?
“We all thought this was for our public good, well, this isn’t.”
Patricia Plunkett said: “I am so bloody angry at this I could scream. There is not one mention on this map of how many new roads will have to be built to service this monstrosity? There will not be a tree standing or a free walk way for locals who know and love the area to wander. This is ridiculous and should be stopped before it gets under way.”