Figures don’t stack up for land sale cash from Flamingoland project

Drumkinnon Bay which has been earmarked for the Flamingoland project.

By Bill Heaney

Dumbarton and Lomond MSP Jackie Baillie had Scottish Enterprise officials stuttering nervously when she questioned them about the sale of land in Balloch for the Flamingoland leisure and tourism in Balloch on Loch Lomondside.

The MSP asked the Enterprise company representatives in the Scottish Parliament’s Economy, Jobs and Fair Work Committee about the potential income they would receive should the land at Balloch at Drumkinnon Bay be sold to the developer.

During the exchange, Iain Scott, Chief Financial Officer at Scottish Enterprise, told the MSP that the sale of the land has the potential to bring in between £1 million and £2 million.

However, following the exchange, a letter to the committee valued the same land at £200,000, a substantially lower figure.

It is understood that the higher figure is the value of all of Scottish Enterprise land holdings in the area, and that includes Lomond Shores.

Iconic Leisure has submitted a planning application to Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Authority for a development which includes a hotel, outdoor activities and self-catering accommodation.

It has met with stern opposition from the public and 27,000 people signed a petition against it in just one week.

If planning permission is granted, Scottish Enterprise will negotiate a deal for the sale of the site – and that deal depends on whether planning permission is granted or not.

Baillie Jackie MSP fishing

Jackie Baillie, pictured left, said:“The figures are interesting. Whilst Scottish Enterprise’s own Chief Financial Officer said that the land could bring in up to £2 million, this figure has decreased to just £200,000.

“We know that concerns have been expressed about the potential development by the local community. There are also concerns that the development will have a negative impact on businesses in the area.

“I know that Scottish Enterprise would not turn down a potential income of millions of pounds, but for a couple of hundred thousand, some people would consider that the potential impact on the community outweighs the likely benefit.

“At that value, community ownership is a real possibility that local people might want to explore.”

Scottish Enterprise has been at pains to point out that the Drumkinnon land, much of which was once occupied by BSD, the British Silk Dyeing company’s works in Balloch, was a brown field site designated for tourism and leisure development in the local plan for that area.

Allan McQuade claimed it was inaccurate to suggest that the land earmarked for Flamingo Land is public property.

He said: “We recognise the concerns surrounding the plans but unfortunately there are inaccuracies in some of the statements made as part of the latest e-petition.  It is important to remember that this area of brownfield land has a long, post-industrial history and it was strategically acquired by Scottish Enterprise with a view to creating a tourism destination in Balloch.

“This development would bring much-needed regeneration, jobs, training opportunities and leisure facilities to the area and, should the development proceed, land at West Riverside will continue to be open, accessible and enjoyed by the public. We would encourage the public to see the plans  at http://www.iconicleisuredevelopments.co.uk before signing a petition based on misinformation.”

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