Residents in planning row over new entrance to Cameron House Hotel
By Bill Heaney
Proposals to create a new entrance to fire-ravaged Cameron House Hotel on the banks of Loch Lomond have received a cold reception from people who live in the area.
Cameron House wants to erect a temporary lodge visitor reception and upgrade the existing southern access road to the hotel.
They have applied to Loch Lomond National Park for planning permission to install lighting “to facilitate its temporary use as the principal public access to the resort” on the road between Old Luss Road and the hotel itself.
Residents of Old Luss Road in Balloch are furious and have come out in opposition to the plan. They include Kenneth Gibson, Geoffrey Hull and Pamela Scott.
Mr Gibson claimed this week that the Council had introduced a traffic assessment report at the eleventh hour – and only after the residents pointed out to them that one was missing from the evidence portfolio.
Mr Gibson, pictured right, said: “Firstly, I would like to make this very clear no one I have spoken to is against Cameron House getting back on its feet and operating to full capacity as quickly as is practically possible. In fact, I personally would welcome it.”
The residents’ objections, according to Mr Gibson, that the proposal to use Old Luss Road as the temporary main entrance/exit “is based on a badly conceived plan where the applicant’s agents and WDC roads quite clearly have not considered the full safety aspects of what their proposal entails.
“Nor have they considered the underlying conditions of the road and footpath they are proposing to use, or, the indiscriminate parking that occurs on the road”.
He claimed the “objections submitted show clearly and comprehensively the increased safety issues pedestrians, cyclists and motorists would face”.
There was in existence, he added, “alternative proposals in objection submissions I have read which have far better solutions than the agents proposal”.
Mr Gibson added: “In essence, the applicants have shown in their proposals that they do not understand the current pedestrian activities and usage for this road now.”
He said his wife’s, Pamela Scott’s alternative suggestion “with her eminently sensible and safety conscious alternative proposals” was preferable to the Cameron House agent’s proposal “which has not considered and has no care for the greater pedestrian safety issues it would create on Old Luss Road”.
He pointed to his other neighbour, Mr Hull’s “precise analysis” of the Old Luss Road’s evolution over the years “against the inept, updated second go of the WDC roads report “containing little or no accurate background detail and presenting a few figures copied straight from the agent’s letter containing spelling mistakes and ambiguously presented figures which does not consider pedestrian safety only traffic volumes.
“These two comparisons only help to confirm that this is an extremely badly conceived planning proposal submission.”
Mr Gibson warned: “The effect that these proposals would have on all of these pedestrian users of Old Luss Road, no matter how temporary it may be, will increase greatly the possibility of tragic consequences, which god forbid if happened would not go down to well if this planning proposal is passed especially now that they have been pointed out to LLTNP (National Park) in objections.”
He added: “I am against this planning proposal for the reasons stated above and suggest the LLTNP consider and advise Cameron House and the agent to examine more closely the safer alternatives suggested in other submissions.”
Pamela Scott predicted “an exponential increase in traffic on Old Luss Road that would increase the safety risk to a great many more people.
“This will affect, joggers, walkers (John Muir Way and hill walkers), dog walkers, cyclists, commuters, residents and all pedestrians, especially the disabled and pram/buggy/wheelchair users. This is primarily because the pavement is in a disgusting state of repair.
“It will also cause traffic congestion, which will affect emergency vehicles trying to access Lomond Shores if an incident occurs, and residents accessing their homes in on the already congested Old Luss Road with indiscriminate parking.”
There will be major roadworks required to Old Luss Road, which will require major investment by Cameron House on their infrastructure not to mention the major inconvenience to their customers accessing Balloch’s congested road network.
Geoffrey Hull said Old Luss Road was the A82 trunk road prior to the bypass being built in 1973. West Dunbartonshire Council Roads Dept. (WDCRD) are using this as a justification of using Old Luss Road as the main entrance to Cameron House. However, in 1973 there were:
- Only six houses. Now there are 14.
- No caravan park. Now there is, containing, lodges, static caravans and camping pods.
- No Loch Lomond Shores. Now there is, and the emergency entrance/exit is off Old Luss Road
- No Queen of the Loch. Now there is, and the entrance exit is off Old Luss Road.
- No marina at Cameron House. Now there is, with very large boats being transported almost on a daily basis
- No parking on Old Luss Road (I have been travelling the road since 1969). Now there is, indiscriminate parking
He complained: “All of the above has not been considered by the planning authority.”
MSP Jackie Baillie commented: ““I know that everyone wants to see Cameron House back on its feet. The hotel and its staff are loved by people across the community and the fire had a devastating impact on everyone.
“However, it is essential that access to the hotel is carefully considered given the potential impact on residents along Old Luss Road and the surrounding area.
“Old Luss Road is already well used by cyclists and walkers as part of the John Muir Way, so more traffic has the potential to cause disruption. A roads impact assessment must be carried out by the council and this should be fully considered by the National Park when determining this planning application.”
Alexandria councillor Jim Bollan wants a pedestrian crossing installed – “I share the resident’s concerns that using the Old Luss Road as the main access route for Cameron House traffic is completely unsuitable.
“I also have concerns about the additional traffic this will create at the roundabout off the A82 next to McDonald’s. I am currently in discussion with the Roads Department about the danger for pedestrians crossing at this busy roundabout, and have suggested the installation of a controlled crossing at this location.”